The Adoption Consensus?


When emotions get heated among those who disagree on abortion rights, it can be easy to settle the conversation by calling on adoption as a "compromise."

According to the "adoption consensus," whatever one thinks about the justness of abortion or the reasonability of expecting a person to raise a child she’s not prepared for, we can at least agree to support policy that will better facilitate adoption. This is utterly uncontroversial. Right?

There are plenty of inconsistencies in adoption law from state to state, and plenty of ways policymakers could streamline adoption for women who wish to relinquish and parents who wish to adopt. But is any of the legislation that purports to facilitate adoption really going to do that?  And even if it did, would it have any affect at all on the abortion rate?

One of the most heated debates in adoption policy is over original birth certificates, says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation. Adults who have been adopted often cannot obtain their original birth certificates because most states keep them sealed. "This is a policy issue that treats adopted people differently from their non-adopted counterparts," Pertman says.

In some cases, this policy has been reversed.  Since 1996, Alabama, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee changed their policies so that adults who were adopted can have access to their birth certificates. Those records in Alaska and Kansas have always been open for adults.

Unsealing records is crucial for adopted adults and, more generally,
for a compassionate and sensible adoption system. It doesn’t, however,
appear to have any particular affect on whether a woman chooses to place her
child for adoption, according to Pertman.

"These are wildly different
states, geographically and politically," Pertman says. "And their
adoption rate is similar to any other state, which indicates that sealing
or not sealing records doesn’t really influence a mother (who is
considering relinquishing her child)."

According to Pertman, the principal argument for keeping birth certificates inaccessible to adopted people is that unsealing records will violate anonymity promised to the birthmother. But, Pertman says, the historical record reveals that’s not the reason records were sealed in the first place; rather, they were sealed to protect the adoptive family from the birthmother, who feared she would show up at their doorstep. A report issued last year by the Donaldson Institute found that states that opened records to adopted persons saw no evidence of negative consequences predicted by opponents of the change, such as stalking by adopted persons or damage to birthmothers.

Abortion is implicated in this policy issue by those who fear that
unsealing birth records will cause more women to choose an abortion
who’d otherwise only place their child for adoption if they were
promised
total anonymity. Pertman says this argument’s popularity is
"diminishing greatly"
because it has "no basis in reality." "From a statistical and
evidence-based point-of-view, it simply is not true," he says. "But
viscerally, it has influence."

That influence begs conflict among those who agree to better facilitate
adoption when some are primarily motivated by a desire to reduce
abortions; improved adoption policy that doesn’t seem to lead to
reduced abortions may not be championed by them. However, that doesn’t
mean that improved adoption policy isn’t essential for its own sake.

"It is important to improve the adoption systems and policies because there are problems with them and they’re not serving any of the parties involved with it as well as they should be," says Jessica Arons, director of the Women’s Health and Rights program at the Center for American Progress. But Arons questions the usefulness of focusing on adoption policy as a "compromise" on disagreements about abortion rights, because improving adoption will have little to no impact on the U.S. abortion rate.

"There are very few women who would’ve given up a child for adoption, but then say to themselves that, ‘oh, well, the system’s messed up, so I’ll go ahead and have an abortion,’" Arons says. "That’s just not the conversation going on in people’s heads."

Democrats for Life say they have a bill that would reduce the
abortion rate by 95% in 10 years (reproductive health advocates
strongly dispute that characterization of the bill). Part of the way
they plan to do that is by increasing the adoption tax credit, and
making it permanent. But would making adoption more affordable for families – undoubtedly a social good in its own right – really affect the decision-making of
American women facing unintended pregnancy?

Regardless of what effect it might have on the abortion rate, much of the work of making adoptions affordable currently falls to charities.  Becky Fawcett, a New York City mother who adopted her son, Jake, co-founded Helpusadopt.org, which offers grants of up to $15,000 to people interested in adopting, with her husband.

"Adoption is not for the faint-hearted, and when you put a $40,000 price tag on it, that’s frightening for people," Fawcett says. "It’s not that people who can’t afford adoption were irresponsible with their money. But who has $40,000-$50,000 in their savings to just write out for an adoption?"

In its first year, Fawcett reports that Helpusadopt.org has met with an extraordinary response. "This need isn’t going away – adoptions can be expensive and difficult and emotionally hard for everyone involved. If we can make it a little easier or people, then I’m proud of that," Fawcett said.

On RH Reality Check,
Cory Richards of the Guttmacher Institute lauds strategies that, like
Helpusadopt.org, make adoption a real and viable option for people. But
he calls out adoption advocacy that’s born of the desire to see the
abortion rate drop.

"Politicians
from both parties frequently promote tax credits and other incentives
to ease the way for adoptive parents to demonstrate that they want to
‘do something’ about abortion," Richards writes. "Facilitating
adoptions, especially of hard-to-place children, deserves our strong
support. But it does nothing to affect the abortion rate. … we know
that very few women actually place their infants for adoption."

Richards
noted that in the US, fewer than 14,000 infants were given up for
adoption in 2003–a less-than-1% rate that’s been consistent for almost
two decades, halting there after a decline that the US Department of
Health and Human Services attributes to the rising social acceptance of
single parenthood.

For those in the 1% who want to place their
child for adoption, for the thousands of children in foster care who
need permanent homes, and for potential parents who want to adopt a
child, we might hope for common sense public policies on adoption.

Yes,
let’s increase the adoption tax credit, and make it permanent. Let’s
ensure birth certificates are accessible for adopted persons, as they
are for any other adult. Let’s ensure that minors who want to give
their child for adoption can do so safely and compassionately, without
undue legal interference. But we shouldn’t pretend it’ll have an effect
on the abortion rate. Policy that’s designed to make adoption a "compromise," implying that adoption will replace abortion or parenting for those with unintended pregnancies, is more than unhelpful: it’s dangerously simplistic.

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  • http://www.lovebabz.blogspot.com invalid-0

    I love how folks love to throw in adoption as part of the abortion discussion. As if that is some real viable option.

    Our Foster Care system in ttjis country is a mess. Children languish for years and years. After 3 yrs old you are no longer cute or adoptable…too many problems so I hear…

    I am the mother of 4 children…born to drug addicted mothers with mental health issues. Hardly attractive stock to anyone wanting to start a family. And please don’t throw in Race.

    The adoption issue is really a White Woman’s number game. They are the only one’s having abortions. Who cares if Black & Latino women are having abortions…why it’s almost rammed down their throats…but maybe I am wrong.

    Perhaps all the those colored children in the foster care system across America are a figment of my imagination.

    I love my children and I can’t imagine my life without then. Every child ought to have a home and loving families and communities to nurture them and love them.

    Talking about adoption in the same context of abortion is insulting and disrespectful. And downright wrong.

    Abortion ought to be a woman’s choice.

  • http://indianaopen.org invalid-0

    I wish the legislators would read something like this. It is harder than pulling a wisdom tooth to get them to understand that with adoptee rights that yes abortion does go down. It actually promotes adoption. It did in Oregon. Their abortion rate dropped a staggering 18% whereas the rest of the country only dropped 2%. However adoption is not the answer to abortion issues. Contraception, teaching a comprehensive sex education, parental responsibility, and sexual responsibility is the way to lower those numbers. I think teaching these things in our schools would help immeasurably. Sadly many of the extremists out there consider contraception a form of abortion.

    I would rather support the women and children of this country than the banks of this country. 1/3 of that money spent on those banks and financial industry could have helped millions of families across this country.

  • invalid-0

    Please see the link >

    http://about-orphans.blogspot.com

  • invalid-0

    Adoption of foster children is FREE – at least in PA. And often there is even a subsidy.
    But access to contraception and information about contraception is a better answer to abortion than adoption is. Workers with birth families of children who end up in foster care are severely restricted in what they can discuss contraception wise with their clients. And never can they mention abortion. This needs to change!!!

  • invalid-0

    I’m glad to see someone is taking notice that changes in adoption rates and abortion rates are NOT connected and that encouraging one does not lead to a decrease in the other. Similarly, preventing or discouraging one does not lead to an increase in the other.

    Opponents to unsealing records for adopted adults had to change their wailing from “abortion rates will skyrocket” to “if it saves only one child…” when actual statistics were reported. Still, the lie continues and those who hear the word “abortion” see red and will automatically oppose anything and everything regarding access to records, no matter how many times any alleged link has been disproved.

    Another lie favors removing children from parents judged (by whom?) to be unable to care for their marketable offspring before any “damage” has been done. This has been widely practiced in the UK. Encouraged by bonuses for meeting adoption targets, councils have procured more marketable healthy white infants by dubious means rather than promote adoption for those already in foster care (the original intention of these bonuses).

    A recent article pointed out that older children in foster care are unwilling to have all ties with extended family severed if they are adopted. Something to think about.

    One thing this otherwise well-written article misses is explaining WHY prospective adoptive families must pay those enormous sums of money to adopt. Is it just supply and demand? Why should it cost $40,000 to adopt a child? Answer – because someone is willing to pay it. If you are willing to accept a “pre-owned” child, perhaps in a different color or one with special needs – the price goes down accordingly. In some cases, the government will even pay YOU to take the child.

  • invalid-0

    The problem is: it still requires a woman to carry a fetus to full term, then give birth: Involuntary Servitude by another name.

  • invalid-0

    …what would have made the difference and encouraged them to carry the babies to term, so they COULD be adopted? I’m wondering if these types of surveys exist.

    Rex – I have to disagree, in most (but not all) cases. Usually getting pregnant is an act of VOLUNTARY “servitude” (to use your term). If the woman wasn’t forced to have unprotected intercourse, then you can’t call it involuntary when she gets pregnant.

  • invalid-0

    I must back up Rex here: consenting to sex is not consenting to a pregnancy. There would have to be a 1:1 ratio of sex to pregnancy for the statement “voluntary servitude” to be legitimate. We know that a pregnancy does not result every time a women engages in sex: the notion of a women consenting to pregnancy just because she consented to sex is false.

  • invalid-0

    The adoption as the option folks seem to be operating under the assumption that pregnancy and birth is trivial to women. After all it is just natural. Well yes and so is the bird flu. Most women would prefer to get the bird flu than be pregnant and give birth for an adoptive couple no matter how easy the process is. Adoption is not an option to abortion. Preventing unwanted pregnancy is.

  • invalid-0

    I have experienced both. Care to ask me which one was more painful? No? I will tell you anyway. The losing of my newborn to adoption at the age of 18, in 1964, was the most torturous experience in my life. No woman should be ‘forced’ to remain pregnant and then be expected to consider adoption as easily as one decides on which shoes she will wear that day or to be ‘forced’ to sign surrender papers against her will. I would avail myself of an abortion some time after losing my newborn to adoption. Not one day in my life have I ever regretted the decision to abort. But in 1964, abortion was still illegal in my state, and because abortion was illegal, I was forced to remain pregnant. During the course of my pregnancy I would come to love my own child within me. But back in the day…being unmarried and pregnant was an instant qualifier for being determined unfit, undeserving and unworthy of one’s own child. Better than abortion..access to birth control would have been a true God-send. That too was mostly not available to unmarried, middle class white, young women. Today I believe that all young females and males should be given full sexual educations and free contraceptives if they are sexually active. Humans, young and old, have been having sex since the dawn of time…that ain’t gonna stop now. Let’s try to prevent untimely pregnancies with sound sexual education and contraceptives. It would be my life-long wish then, that abortions and adoption, would be the rare sad event in a woman’s life. Females were not put on this earth to act as ‘breeding-machines’ for those who cannot borne their own children or for those who wish to expand their existing families. I would hope that mass distribution of contraceptives then would also severely decrease the amount of children in fostercare, due to proven abuse and neglect. There has got to be a better way, then the ways that are employed today. And on another note..give these adopted people their original birth certificates. The argument for sealing OBC’s are smoking mirrors, to hide the secrets and lies of the Closed Adoption Era. What was done to my generation of former young unmarried women was not just a travesty..but I believe in my heart of hearts…criminal as well! There are a lot of people who have a hell of a lot of explaining to do..not only to the adopted people born during the Closed Adoption Era…but to their mothers as well, if not moreso!

  • invalid-0

    …is NOT consent to pregnancy. it is absurd to suggest it is so. by your logic, consent to sex is also consent to acquiring disease, because that is another possible consequence of sex. a pregnancy is only “voluntary” if the pregnant woman wishes to be pregnant. end of story.

    your logic sounds suspiciously like slut-shaming…as in, anyone you judge as sexually irresponsible deserves to face the consequences, no matter how devastating. there are all manner of situations in which a woman (or her partner) might have limited access to birth control, e.g. lack of funds, lack of education, pressure on the partner’s part, lack of health services, etc. are we to say these people aren’t allowed to have sex? and if the female partner does get pregnant, we are to say that she should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, even in the light of these disadvantages? (example: a woman who can’t afford birth control is expected to be able to pay for prenatal care / pay for healthy food for the benefit of the fetus / be able to weather decreased ability to perform her job?) oh…well…tough. she deserved it, after all…what with that inability to keep her legs closed.

    psst…your privilege is showing.

  • invalid-0

    You are the voice of the mothers who were and are kicked aside so that well-paid social workers and other “professionals” can make a good living off trafficking babies for adoption.
    My father was a doctor, and a raging, violent alcoholic, when he and my mother legally adopted a perfect baby boy, my brother, in 1966. I often think about my brother’s real mother. I am sure that she never wanted her baby to go to abusers.
    When it comes to adoption, money talks.
    Thank you for sharing the truth about adoption.

  • mellankelly1

    Any surveys of women who’ve had abortions asking what would have made the difference and encouraged them to carry to term, so they COULD be adopted? 

    As a woman who has terminated a pregnancy, I can assure you that there are no circumstances in which I would have continued with that pregnancy.  In fact, I would (without doubt) terminate again under those same circumstances.  Further, I find it insulting that you would insinuate that a woman who has determined that she cannot or does not wish to remain pregnant would simply need a little encouragement in order to be persuaded to gestate, give birth and voluntarily relinquish her child.  Perhaps you should accept the radical notion that women are capable of making the best, most responsible and moral decisions regarding their pregnancies.

     If the woman wasn’t forced to have unprotected intercourse, then you can’t call it involuntary when she gets pregnant.

    If a woman did not plan on getting pregnant, it wasn’t voluntary (as consenting to sex is in no way consenting to pregnancy, childbirth or parenthood.)  Further, forcing a woman to gestate and give birth against her will (involuntary) is the very definition of servitude (a condition in which one lacks liberty especially to determine one’s course of action or way of life.)

  • invalid-0

    I agree Chris with you and with Anonymous.

    Anyone who cares to know The Truth about adoption, especially during the Baby Scoop Era, please visit http://www.babyscoopera.com

    Abortion has nothing to do with adoption except that the Christian Right makes it so. Once a woman goes forward with her pregnancy she either keeps or doesn’t keep. Hopefully one day this country will follow the ethical direction of other countries by supporting ALL mothers to keep their children. To not do so is abusive in the extreme! And if the very rare mother doesn’t wish to keep, there is kinship care and legal guardianship.

    Adoption is domestic violence. It abuses mother and child. It serves the wealthy and the more powerful. It fuels a $1.5 BILLION dollar annually adoption market (supports the salaries of adoption social workers, agencies and lawyers).

    Educate yourselves!! No mother should ever have her child removed from her or be forced to sign papers to surrender her infant due to marital status or financial situation!

  • http://bastardette.blogspot.com invalid-0

    I plan to post a couple comments here, but need to keep them separate. I’ll do the easy one first.

    The adoption tax credit is a scam. It may look good to the innocent and inexperienced, but the only pockets it fills are those of adoption industrialists: adoption agencies and lawyers. Tax credits enable “adoption professionals” to jack up the already inflated price of adoption. For example, if an adoption costs $15,000 (which is low) and the adopters get a $5,000 tax credit, the cost will go up to $20,000 since the adopters will think they’re getting something for nothing. Adoption in the US is about greed and writing every cent possible from the desperate and childless.

    The hideous Cong. Michelle Bachmann has another tax credit scam going to encourage “easier” adoption. She’s introduced legislation that would give women who surrender their kids to the adoption mill a tax credit for the FY they were pregnant. She forgot one thing. Many many memers of her target group don’t make enough money to pay taxes to start with.

  • http://www.Origins-USA.org invalid-0

    After a fair and thoughtful presentation of facts, you conclude “Let’s increase the adoption tax credit.”

    The problem with this is that adoption credits USE foster care as a wedge in the door but do nothing specifically help “special needs” children in foster care – more tha 100,000 of whom COULD be adopted. Instead it provides tax credit to anyone adopting any child from anywhere, and in doing so supports an unregulated, privatized multi-billion dollar industry that exploits women globally and domestically to increase supplies of babies to meet a demand.

    An ethical – “compassionate and sensible” – society would use these tax dollars instead to help see to it that families in danger of falling apart – a situation increasing as the economy continues to worsen – are provided the supports they need to remain together like day care.

    Adoption is supposed to be about finding homes for orphans and for children shoe parents and extended family – despite receiving all the help they need – cannot or will not provide a safe home for a child. It is not about reducing abortion nor should it be about funding the redistribution of children to meet a “demand.”

    As for adoptees birth certificates you and Pertman are on the right tratck but stop short of the real destination. As he points out, the alleged “privacy” of mothers who surrender is a huge smoke screen. Why ten is it OK to unseal those records when the adoptee reaches some magic age of majority? Is it less of a violation of the alleged “promise” of confidentiality then than it would have been earlier? It’s pure fiction as in most cases, the adoptive parents have the information all along.

    Treating adopted citizens equally and without discrimination demands that their birth certificates not be falsified to begin with. The so-called “amended certificate” issued after an adoption is legal documentation of a fraud: that the child was “born to” his adopters. This practice simply perpetuates what Pertman speaks of: placating the adopter’s unfounded fears.

    We need not make any compromises at all, nor do we need to: “ensure that [anyone] who want[s] to give their child for adoption can do so safely and compassionately, without undue legal interference.” Instead we need to see to that they do not have undue pressure on them to do so.

    We need to do is to value all families and all familial connections. We need to take the rights of mothers and fathers more seriously and stop playing reverse Robinhood by taking babies from the poor and giving them to rich – and supporting it all with tax dollars!

    We need to fight infertility medically and educationally to prevent the majority of it that is preventable.

    We need to put limits on private entrepreneurs who profit from these transfers of custody with no trianing, no education in the filed of social work, no certification, and
    less regulations that nail salons. Such lack of regulation of this industry causes harm to all parties who rely on them for services – most especially innocent children.

    Mirah Riben, Vice President of Communication, Origins-USA.org and author, The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry”

  • invalid-0

    WTF. You made a choice to have sex. You made a choice to have unprotected sex. By doing so, you take on the risk and responsibility of possibly getting pregnant and possibly contracting a disease. By making a choice to have unprotected sex, the risk of getting pregnant and contracting a disease is greatly increased. It’s not rocket science to figure that one out. Take responsibility for your actions. By saying that having unprotected sex is not consent to pregnancy makes you sound ignorant and irresponsible. Not to mention stupid.

  • invalid-0

    Adoption is big business! When the “homes for unwed mothers” were first started,their intent was to help mothers and their children to stay together.Adoption was used for true orphans.When did this change? When social wreckers realized that there was a market in shamming young Mothers and encouraging families to care more about what the neighbors would think than they would be abandoning their daughters and grandchildren.So the intent was changed for profit.
    Infertile couples were told the infants they were adopting would be a clean slate.Young moms were told that if they loved their children they would surrender their child to a more worthy couple and their child would never miss them.They were also told they would go on as if they had never had a child.They were told their child would not miss them.LIES all lies.Infants and their Mothers bonded in the womb.The adoptive parents found out indeed the infants came not with a clean slae at all but with traits of their natural family and indeed could be very angry for being separated from their families.Moms found they NEVER FORGOT and they would mourn the loss of their own children for the rest of their life.They also found out their children could have been abused in their adoptive homes and are angry for being surrendered.
    Sadly,the lies are pretty much the same as they always have been.And let’s face it the adoption industry doesn’t want the infants of women of color.They want what brings in money.They want healthy white infants!And that is trafficking of children.

  • therealistmom

    I see a LOT of condemnation of women in your posts nizertop. the woman who "got herself pregnant" because she "spread her legs". Hello. Takes two last time I looked.

     There is also this assumption that every unwanted pregnancy comes from a woman being "too stupid" to use protection.  Birth control methods fail; people may not be educated how to use them properly; it may be a case of rape or incest, or an abusive marriage situation where the man forces himself upon his wife in marital rape.Men who lie and say they are "sterile" because they are selfish bastards who don’t want to use condoms? Why is it the woman’s responsibility always?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to make more options available for contraception and education than condemning the "evil sluts" who went and "got themselves knocked up"? Make sure there are places for women to go to escape abusive relationships?

    Why should women be "punished" by enduring a pregnancy and childbirth, simply because they are women? A man can walk away. He will never have his body hijacked by pregnancy. And think about it, that’s a wonderful way for a child to be viewed, as a "punishment" for the woman’s "sins" of daring to want to have adult relationships. How come it’s only the women in this equation who seem to take the "responsibility"?

     It saddens me when I see people full of so much judgment for others without having a clue about their circumstances.

     I was 15, "in love" and using protection when I became pregnant for the first time. So in your worldview I should have had to give birth and either give up the resulting child to someone "better" than me, or somehow through the depression, shock, and terror raise a baby on my own at that age. Should I have not been sexually active? Probably. We were using contraception though- it just wasn’t good enough. I shouldn’t have been "punished" with a child however, remaining in a relationship that would have become emotionally abusive and living on welfare. I was not equipped in any way, shape, or form to have a baby. My options were abortion or suicide. But I guess my death would have been appropriate punishment for "spreading my legs", eh?

  • http://hillary.viviti.com/ invalid-0

    IS THE MOTHER!!

    Thanks Anna for the great research that went into this article. It was fascinating. Women all over the U.S. fight for their right to abort, but why not also fight for the right to use adoption? It should not be so difficult!

  • invalid-0

    Equalist and Hillary… typical spewing of proadoption propaganda. You who have not walked in our shoes can’t speak from any personal experience. You are just as brainwashed and manipulated in your thinking as the rest of the general public. You bought into these myths hook, line and stinker. The adoption industry is to blame. Why? Hey, they love that $1.5 BILLION that comes in annually.

    They want it to continue. They want the babies of unprotected mothers harvested for people who can’t have their own or those who think they are “rescuing” an “abandoned” child.

    That’s rarely the case. No mother should ever be manipulated out of keeping her own child because of age, marital status or economics.

    Many of you can’t speak to this issue with any experience or knowledge. WE are the experts. WE lived it… and many of us barely survived it.

    These babies aren’t yours. You and others like you, especially adoption workers and adoption lawyers, need to back off and leave these mothers alone. Scared does NOT equal incapable. Young does NOT equal unwilling. Poor does NOT equal unworthy.

  • invalid-0

    Equalist says ” His adoptive family and my family are forever joined, and always will be. We exchange gifts on holidays and birthdays, I speak regularly with him and his family, and he speaks regularly with his little half sisters.” this is a totally different kind of adoption than the ones being talked about where birth records are closed or destroyed. The only type of adoption that I can support is open adooption–preferably within the extended family if there is someone who wants to do that. I know of an older couple who had to spend thousands on attorneys to fight for custody of their grand child (mom is a crack addict and went to prison) he was a cute little 2 yr old boy who would have been very “adoptable” and the social workers wanted to place him with an adoptive family. this couple should be reimbursed for the money they spent so they could use it for careing for their little boy–he is a very happy little guy with his Gramps and Gram. What a horrible misuse of our tax money!And of course if their daughter ever gets her life together then she can be a part of her childs life again–the child is not forever cut off from his mom. And what about people like me who do not have thousands to spend on attorneys–I was so scared when my daughter and her ex were both behaving badly and she was threatened with having her kids taken away–I am in another state also so it would have been almost impossible for me to get them–esp while they were young and “cute”. They are now older and my daughter has finally got her life together, off drugs,and was fortunate to find a good counseler to work with her. I also know 2 adopted people who were abused by adoptive parents–it is not always a safe choice. The only option that I think might work to reduce abortion would be to have these rich white childless families take in the pregnant mom and baby. Has anyone ever thought of that? Many teen moms have no one to help them. I get so annoyed when I see ads in the paper –give us your baby to love, as if they were talking about an unwanted dog. Maybe if they would say we will take you in and care for you and your baby, be adoptive grandparents instead! So the teen mom could finish school and learn to be a good parent and still be with her baby–and the “adoptive” grandparents would have the fun of helping to raise a baby. If they turned out to be abusive or bad parents she could leave with her baby and get to a safer place. Of course too many of these couples are only thinking of the cute baby -not the soon to be terrible two’s or the rebellious teen to come. I do think it is a good idea to have assistance for people who want to adopt babies who are truly not wanted–those who have been abandoned by their parents and don’t have any other family to take them in. But we should never go back to the days of forced or coerced taking babies away from moms just because there is a “need” for perfect babies for childless parents.

  • invalid-0

    To Anonymous who tore Mirah Riben apart – did you actually READ what she wrote? She is an advocate for keeping families together. I think you owe her an apology.

    Adoptees can have good experiences with their adoptive families – however, there is no excuse for completely severing them from their original extended family and their own identity and heritage. Even if they are infants.

    And think about what an older child (even a two year old) in foster care must face – in foster care, they keep their name and identity, they may have contact with their extended families (including unadopted siblings). Under the current system in many states, this all changes once they are adopted. They are issued a revised BIRTH certificate (rewriting their origin and sealing it forever) and must sever contact with grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. Who would want to do that to a child? How can society condone what is effectively legalized kidnapping and even celebrate it as something done in the “best interests” of the child?

  • http://hillary.viviti.com/ invalid-0

    Anonymous, how can you claim to know anything about me?? It’s very conceeded to actually think that everyone with a different opinion is wrong and fooled by propaganda. Just because something is true in your case does NOT mean it should be a blanket rule. I completely agree that families should be kept together. I completely agree that no one should have to give up a child because of status/age/income/etc. I do question how often that happens, especially with so much choice in America. There ARE many cases of adoption as a good thing for both birth mother, child, and family. If it’s not true in your case, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true at all. That’s something you need to realize. You don’t have all the answers and your experience isn’t the only one that counts. I have toured all over South East Asia, visiting hospitals, police stations, and orphanages. I have news for you: Those children (in 3rd world countries) are abandoned, left half dead, etc. No one made the mother give up the child. I think you are one who is making a lot of assumptions.

  • invalid-0

    Increasing the adoption tax credit will do nothing to increase adoptions. The reason adoption of healthy white infants (HWIs) is expensive is because there is more demand than supply. A bigger tax break for adopters will not induce more women to surrender their babies. Actually increasing the credit will increase the cost of adoption because the adoption industry will increase its fees, thus increasing its profits at tax payers expense.

    It does not cost anything to adopt children that actually need homes, children is foster care so people who adopt them have don’t get the credit. In fact states pay people to adopt these children.

    The claim that women don’t surrender their babies because adoption is too complicated in nonsense. In fact, it is too easy to surrender resulting in women signing the paper when they are stressed out and lack information about their options.

    The real problem today is that women wait until they are postmenopausal to decide they want children. When buying the eggs of a young woman doesn’t work, they enter into the adoption competition. If they can’t get A HWI, they go abroad and pay an adoption broker (in some cases a kidnapper) big bucks for an infant. Conbtray to myth, foreign women love their children as much as American women do (it’s human nature).

    Our government should abolish the adoption tax credit and use the money to help women in the US and abroad care for their own children.

  • invalid-0

    100,000,OF WHOM COULD BE ADOPTED.
    WOW,– that is just a great advert for family preservation, is it not? oh but here we have M.Riben saying its okay to adopt “SPECIAL NEEDS”.
    And you have the audacity to ask me to apologise, get of your sanctimonious pedestal, and look what she is saying here,Riben is campaigning to keep HEALTHY FAMILIES TOGETHER, but saying its okay ADOPTION WILL BE BETTER FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDY OF THIS WORLD, especially the 100,000 here, of WHOM COULD BE ADOPTED ,they wont be affected so its okay to put them forward for adoption, how sick is that.
    Special Needy children, are seared by adoption, impacted by adoption,suffer from severe psychological damage, as much as the so called normal child.
    FAMILY PRESERVATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS, means FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY, with help from government providing wrap around support and training for parents, also respite care when a rest is necessary,mentoring for family, and a family friend network, that can provide a period in the day when there is need for family time away from the special needs child, thats where this service comes in.
    QUOTE—adoptees have good experience.
    That is the hallmarks of adoptees that are still in deep denial,M.Riben, is she an authority in this field? I think not, therefore has no license to quote adoption can be a good experience,
    Her next book should be to collate all the worlds top adoption psychologists and psychiatrists,research into the TSUNAMI EFFECTS THAT HAS SEARED THE LIVES OF MOTHERS AND ADOPTEES AND SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTEES ALIKE, AND THIS THE UNRECOGNISED HOLOCAUST THAT THE WORLD FAILS TO RECOGNISE.Marah.

  • invalid-0

    You are taking a known risk of pregnancy when having sex. That is the voluntary part. You are consenting to the risk of pregnancy, not to the pregnancy itself.

    If I am prescribed a medication with known side effects, and take that medication anyway, I cannot hold my doctor liable for the side effects I was told MIGHT happen by taking the medication, just because I didn’t give consent to said side effects.

    Sex is a choice that comes with inherent risks, one of which is the possibility of getting pregnant. There does not need to be a 1:1 ratio, that is simply a ridiculous assertion.

  • invalid-0

    It may seem like a good idea to place a child in a home with the hopes that the birth parents will get things under control in their lives and be able to step up to the plate, but there are two problems with this way of thinking.
    1) What happens when the crack addicted birthmother doesn’t get herself together? Then you’ve got the adoptive parents having to explain to the child for the rest of their lives that no, mommy can’t take them home because she still doesn’t have herself together enough yet, and the child’s heart is broken over and over again by false hope. Not to mention the adoptive parents who cannot let themselves truly love the child as their own with the knowledge that he or she may not be their own for much longer at any given time.
    2) What happens when the birthmother does get herself together and decides to come for the child. In this circumstance, you’ve got the situation of the child who has been raised by the only parents he or she has ever known suddenly handed over to someone they may have never met, or only known rarely. It is these situations you hear about in the news with bitter custody battles, and the question of what truly is in the best interest of the child? There are those who would say the birth parents absolutely, but the fact is, in these cases, when the child is returned to the birth parents, they are ripped from the life they have known and thrown into another that they are unfamiliar with. It is these kinds of situations that leave the child with abandonment issues, and uncertainty in his or her life. This kind of situation turns a child’s life upside down, far worse than divorce. A child of divorce loses one parent. A child given back to a birth parent loses both of the only parents he’s ever known. This is a traumatic situation, and one I believe should be avoided at all costs for the sake of the child.
    I’ve often had people ask me if I would ever consider fighting for custody of my son back, and I don’t even have to think about it before I answer with a resounding no. Yes, I am his birthmother. Yes we have a relationship and he knows who I am, but I am NOT his mother, and it is not my place to take that away from him under any circumstances. I would never upset the life of my son in such a manner. To do so or even think of it is incredibly selfish on the part of the birthparent.

  • invalid-0

    For your information I was adopted. A close friend of mine’s little sister was adopted. My neighbor’s son was adopted. And look at where we all are now.
    I have experienced no “tsunami of trauma” from my adoption. I am not scarred by my biological father’s walking out on my mother and I and giving up his rights so that my daddy could adopt me. I was not damaged by the fact that I was raised by a loving, supporting man instead of one who was willing to walk away from his family.
    My friend’s little sister still feared her birth mother would come and take her away from her adoptive family until the day the woman overdosed on cocaine and killed herself. She still mourns for her daddy, the man who raised her and has little to do with her birthfather, the man who allowed her to be abused and neglected by her birthmother. She is more damaged by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her “natural” parents than by the loving environment she grew up in with her adoptive family.
    My neighbor’s son, while I don’t know him well, I do know that he loves his mother, and while he has contact with his birthmother, she is just that to him, the woman who gave birth to him and abandoned him at daycare one day because she forgot he was there. He is now a doctor, a highly functioning member of society, and is now married with a close family of his own.
    This is not adoption propaganda. On the contrary, this bile you continuously spew is nothing more than antiadoption propaganda, and appears as nothing more than your twisted way of venting your own victim mentality over your own situation.

  • invalid-0

    “These babies aren’t yours. You and others like you, especially adoption workers and adoption lawyers, need to back off and leave these mothers alone. Scared does NOT equal incapable. Young does NOT equal unwilling. Poor does NOT equal unworthy.”

    The son I gave birth to WAS mine. No one pressured me into the decision to give him up, in fact there was more pressure to keep him or abort.
    Young does not equal scared or unwilling. I knew exactly what I was doing every step of the way. I hand picked his birth parents myself with no pressure or assistance from anyone else. I was told througout the process I could change my mind at any time. I NEVER changed my mind. I made my choice based on my son’s best interests, and I will stand by that choice until the day I die. It is not I who was brainwashed by some mass adoption conspiracy. It is you who does the brainwashing of scared pregnant women into believing that to give their children into loving homes that are prepared to give them everything that they are not is a fate worse than death. It is you who is more concerned with keeping a child out of loving arms who want him and keeping him in the hands of selfish and neglectful or abusive parents than what is truly in the best interests of that child. It is you who devalues a pregnant woman’s mind to the point to believe that any woman who is pregnant is incapable of making her own decision as to what is best for her child when that decision includes making the most heartwrenching sacrifice a mother can make so that her child may live a better life than she herself can provide. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • emma

    There are major problems with transnational adoption. There’s a high-revenue industry associated with it that yields high profits from exploiting women and kids from the global South. Western economic policies and colonialism have played a large part in creating poverty in parts of the world, and it seems to me that people in poor countries would be much better served by assistance aimed at alleviating the poverty that pushes women into giving up their kids. It’s just more exploitation of people in underdeveloped countries by wealthy Western countries; in this case, using poor women to produce poor brown children for wealthy white couples.

     

    I read a study conducted in a Sweden a few years ago (I’m having trouble finding a link; sorry) which found that transnational adoptees experienced a higher incidence of mental health problems and suicide rates than control subjects. Transnational adoption seems like a nice way of helping abandoned children, but it’s highly problematic and reflective of a massive and unjustifiable disparity in global wealth.

  • invalid-0

    I have meen reading the posts on this article with great interest. I am a woman who has experienced 3 abortions (by my own choice, nobody influenced me). I also chose to make an adoption plan for my son(my choice, nobody forced me). I am now married and have 2 grown children. I have serveal comments:

    1.Many of the postings condemn adoption agencies, attornies, etc. for being in a business that “profits” from a woman’s pegnancy, yet I saw no one condemn the abortion industry for profitting from terminating a woman’s pregnancy. In my state over 13,000 abortions were performed in the last year that records are available, at an average rate of $350/first tirmester abortion, that is a boatload of profit!

    2.Unlike women in the early to mid twenty-first century, starting in the early 1980′s I and other women were not forced to make adoption plans for our children. We freely chose to educate ourselves about it and then chose to exercise this option at best for ourselves and our children. Those women and men who went before us certainly suffered and were treated inhumanly by previous adoption processes and we must never repeat those old practices. I am sorry for the pain it has caused in thier lives. Old practices do not make the option bad, they just help us learn how best to come along side the parties involved during a very challenging and difficult decision-makeing process. Once the parents choose to carry a pregnancy to term, whether adopion or parenting is chosen, they deserve support and encouagement, not judgement or condemnation.

    3.I believe that anyone who has beem adopted should have access to thier medical history if possible and as much family history/information as possible, but I believe that if a birth parent chooses to remain anonymous, thier wishes must be respected. I am personally open to any questions or contact my son might wish to have with me, but many biological parents are not. By making an adoption plan for their child they have chosen, what in their minds and hearts, is the best future for their child. Their wishes should be respected.

    4. BIOLOGY DOES NOT EQUEL LOVE
    I have been involved in a pregnancy care ministry for over 18 years and I have seen the best of the best biological parents and also the worst of the worst of biological parents. Paernting is first and formost about sacrifice for another human being. There are biological parents who refuse to sacrifice drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. for the good for thier children and, sadly for them,loose thier rights to have control over their children’s futures. Fortunatly for the children, there are social service agencies who can step in and protect them from this ongoing trauma and then provide stable, secure and loving homes through adoption. Biological parents are given TONS of opportunities to get their acts together and make different choices so that their paternal rights are not terminated by the state before thier rights are terminated. We muct consider that CHILDREN ARE NOT POSSESIONS, THEY ARE RESPONSIBILIES. Children removed from abusive,neglectful or drug affected families deserve a chance to be loved by people who put thier safely, security and well being ahead of all else. That does not take biology, that takes sacrificial love. Sadly, by the time many of these children’s plights(at the hands of their biological parents)are discovered, many have expereinced deep and lasting trauma that scars them for life.

    3. IS ADOPTION PERFECT? No ARE THERE ADOPTIVE PARENTS WHO ABUSE THEIR CHILDREN? Probobly. The media, of course, only focuses on the most sensational cases involving adoptive families. If we are honest with ourselves, our nightly news could be filled to overflowing every evening with stories of abuse in biological families.

    4.Most biological parents who make adoption plans for their children do so with one thing in mind: the best interest of the child. I have personally been a labor companion to more then 30 women who have gone through the process of making an adoption plan for thier children. There have been tears and prayers and converstions about what to do, and always the underlaying question is “What is best for this child?” I and others don’t make adoption plans for our children because we don’t understand our roles as parents or because we don’t love our children, or because we think God has made a mistake by allowing this child to be concieved in our wombs, but it is becasue we want the very best for our children whether that is us raising them or opening ourselves up to the possibility that there is another family that can come alongside us and provide what the child needs, not just for today, but for the future.

    4. There are bilblcal examples of adoption in scripture: Mosas (raised by Pharoh’s daughter), Esther(raised by her uncle Mordici), and Jesus (raised by Joseph) Maybe there was no “paperwork” involved, but the relationships were there. I think it might do us well to consider how God used these relationships (paperless adoptions, if you will) to place people where He wanted them to accomplish what He needed them to do: Mosas, to lesd the Israelites out of Egypt; Esther, to warn her people of the plot against them, and Jesus . . . well, you know the story. We must be careful not to assume we know everything or have the corner on the market of truth in this area of adoption, our humann reasoning can make us blind.

    5. Most of the people I have worked with who are involved in unplanned pregnancy situations do not really “want” an abortion. What they want is relief from a situaton they did not plan for. We humans are like that, we always want to be in control. A writer once wrote of women who were interviewed after having or considering abortions that, “Women do not want abortion like they want an ice cream cone or a Porsche, they want one like a bear who’s leg is caught in a steel trap wants to gnaw its leg off to get away.” I try and help women and men consider the possibiliy of adoption before they make any final decisons about thier pregnancy situation. I find if fascinating and confusing that I am usually told, “I could never make an adoption plan for my child, so I will have an abortion.” When I explore this with them, they admit that they would become attached to the “fetus” the longer they would carry it and would not want to part with the “fetus”. When I mention that they will be parting with that same “fetus” if they shoose aboriton, the conversation can turn ugly. Reality bites, doesn’t it?

    I guess I will close and see who jumps on this post, let’s remember that every one of us brings different experinces and perspectives to the table. Thanks!
    CT

    • invalid-0

      The average cost of an abortion, to the patient, is currently $450 to $500.

      The average *cost* of an abortion, to a given clinic, in materials and salaried/hourly staff time alone, is well above that. Any abortion provider that is performing a first-trimester surgical procedure for less than $1000 is doing so at a loss. You may have your opinion, but please don’t perpetuate the myth of abortion as a money-making scheme.

  • invalid-0

    for your intelligent and thoughtful comments. This whole discussion has not been very productive or insightful, thanks for setting the bar a bit higher.

  • http://astore.amazon.com/babylearningtoys-20 invalid-0

    More mothers will turn to abortion if adoption didn’t exist.

  • invalid-0

    Colleen – Thank you for your insight. However I must comment on the myths of family medical history and birth parent anonymity.
    /
    I was born in 1953 – my first mother had no choice as her family would have disowned her if she had kept me. Fast forward to the present. How do I find out my family medical history? They were “all healthy” back in 1953 – what about now? I don’t know if my first mother wants/wanted anonymity. She may be long deceased. Am I out of luck?
    /
    A friend of mine recently located her first mother. Was her mother thrilled to hear from her? Yes. Why wasn’t her mother searching? Because she made the mistake of going to the agency that facilitated the adoption and was NEVER told that New York State has an official registry for adoptees and their first families! Other first mothers were told that their babies were stillborn or died as infants – they wouldn’t be searching either.
    /
    New York has recently changed the law – for current and future adoptions, the first parents are given literature about the Registry. The law was proposed because:
    /
    “JUSTIFICATION: The Adoption Information Registry was established in 1984 within the Department of Health and provides a mechanism for adoptees and their biological parent(s) to access identifying information through dual
    consent. Many biological parents, however, are unaware of the existence of the Registry and so their birth children cannot avail themselves of identifying information, medical histories, and information regarding their family history, ethnic and religious heritage. Moreover, it is not inconceivable that a birth parent might die in the intervening years between relinquishing a child and that child coming into maturity and desiring identifying information.”
    /
    So even the State of New York admits that first parents may want contact but are unaware of a state-sanctioned method of doing so.

  • invalid-0

    Colleen, thank you for your perspective on this issue. I think a lot of people fail to see adoption for what it truly is because they haven’t been on all sides of the issue. They see the situation from the point of view of an adoptee, or a birth parent, or an adoptive parent, but not more than one of these.

  • invalid-0

    What I see on all these posts is a lot of fear, a lot of anger, a lot of people desperately trying to convince themselves and others that their view is the only correct one.

    Let me say that EVERY view expressed here is correct – for some people. We all have differing views of life and of adoption, because we all have different life experiences.

    In my case, I was adopted in 1950 by a wonderful couple who raised me with love, in the best way they could. I loved them and they loved me.

    Yet being adopted is NOT the same as being a child biologically connected to one’s parents. No amount of wishful thinking will make this so, and to pretend otherwise is to deny that child his identity. Adoptees have two sets of parents; biological parents may have other children but are still part of those they surrendered. Society recognizes this in the case of step-families, and considers it healthy to keep relationships between all parties involved. Yet even today most states still try to maintain the fiction that adoption severs biological ties forever.

    My own biological children are marrying now, and I realize that they are not MY children; they were my responsibility to raise as best I could, but I was only their temporary caretaker; they do not belong to anyone but themselves. This is true of every child; we are NOT chattel!

    As I contemplated the possibility of grandchildren, I realized I owed my own children knowledge of their heredity; something my adoptive parents could not provide me, but I resolved to find as much information for them as I could. After years of searching, and years of therapy understanding how adoption affected my ability to relate to my adoptive family, my wife and my own children, I found where I came from and am able to share that with my children.

    Continuing to seal adoption records simply serves no useful purpose in the 21st century. NONE! It has no effect upon abortion rates; open adoptions actually are more likely to cause women to choose to surrender.

    I cast no stones at those who “spread their legs” or chose to abort, to surrender, or to adopt. Each person does what they can live with, and it serves no one to condemn those who choose differently. There are good and bad adoptive families, good and bad biological families, good and bad children. If each of us would spend more energy upon trying to do a better job in our own roles instead of trying to convince others that OUR view is the only correct one, perhaps we could work to reduce the known flaws in our current adoption situation.

  • invalid-0

    Way late on this comment, but this type of logic always irks me.

    So, nizertop, I assume that you believe that people who get STI’s should be refused treatment for them? I mean, after all, they chose to have unprotected sex with their partners, so they should take responsibility and live with the consequences, right?

  • http://www.4simpsons.wordpress.com invalid-0

    When people say that “Abortion ought to be a woman’s choice” it assumes that the unborn aren’t living human beings worthy of protection.

    Of course adoption is part of the abortion discussion. When someone is pregnant a new human being already exists. That is a scientific fact, supported by secular embryology textbooks. She is at a particular stage of development, but she is still human. You can call her a fetus, but she is a human fetus, just as she’ll be a human baby, human toddler, human teen, etc. provided that no one destroys her.

    So if a pregnancy exists, the options are to keep the child, give her up for adoption or abort her. Adoption is obviously preferred.

    Are orphanages or foster homes ideal? Of course not. But we shouldn’t kill human beings in the womb any more than we would kill children in orphanages or foster homes.

  • invalid-0

    If you want to talk about “clearly,” it is clear that you are yet another MAN telling women what they should do with their bodies.

    This is a decision that is the woman’s to make and whatever consequence it might have is between her and her Creator.

    People need to mind their own business, including you. In fact, let’s talk about MEN and why THEY don’t keep it in THEIR pants. Let’s talk about how MEN participate in sex and then walk away from their responsibility when the woman ends up pg.

    This isn’t an issue about when life begins. It is an issue of money, power and control. Men controlling women. Men making money. Men having power. Churches making more money by keeping their members numbers up through their own adoption agencies and abortion/adoption propaganda.

    It is all about money, power and control. Take away a woman’s right to choose (contraception or abortion) and you get much more adoption supply.

    Men need to police their own. (And btw, there is no such thing as a “slut” or “whore.” If there is, MEN top the list. It always takes two, ya know.)

  • http://www.pet-treats.org invalid-0

    The real problem today is that women wait until they are postmenopausal to decide they want children. When buying the eggs of a young woman doesn’t work, they enter into the adoption competition, and if that doesn’t work they go abroad, It’s a vicious cycle.

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  • http://dino-p-delellis.com/ invalid-0

    So very true , though it’s important to put the proper protective measures so that the children will not end up with families who are unsuitable for adoption , but the government should not make them so difficult that only a very small percentage of society can afford to adopt.

    These adoption guideline problems should be addressed as soon as possible because the delay will not do anyone good.

    -Dino Delellis

  • http://win365bingo.com/ invalid-0

    I think there should be a sort of universal adoption guideline , one that is formulated and agreed upon by the entire country.

    While it should be strict it should also be fair and realistic. There are a lot of good families out there that would make a good foster family to orphans but are currently having difficulties with adoption because of current laws.

  • http://footballnews.today.com/ invalid-0

    I agree with bingo, there really should be a set standard put aside for adoption so everyone involved understands what is happening from the get go. There would be a lot more happy kids and a lot less problems.

  • http://www.dogtrainingcompare.com invalid-0

    I’ve been actively looking to adopt for years and have found that the current polices are old and some just don’t make sence anymore for this day and age. So I totally agree with your statement “…for potential parents who want to adopt a child, we might hope for common sense public policies on adoption.”. I would say that some reform needs to be done here.