Does coercion exist in these two choices? Yes it does. Our country has a love affair with adoption. Many adoptee, birthmother and even adoptive parent blogger has tried to change that way of thinking. Even if you fight for unrestricted adoptee access laws in this country, you are still required to love adoption. My personal feelings are ones of severe ambivalence towards adoption. I am almost a little reluctant to post again about adoption but these things need to be said.
The anti choice organizations have all pushed for disclosure of risks inherent with abortion. There are laws that require a twenty four hour waiting period. In the Indiana Senate, SB 417 was introduced that required an ultrasound be done eighteen hours before the abortion. The woman was required to pay for this ultrasound. This bill fortunately never got out of the Senate. These kind of bills are popping up all over the country. We are also seeing personhood bills as well. Those are another ugly item that has been discussed here. I have heard claims where some abortion providers are pushing abortions onto women as the only choice. I have not heard any personal stories to that effect.
Adoption on the other hand is being pushed hard and fast. I would like to see some of the same laws on abortion applied to adoption. About three years ago, a dear friend, Kristy, went to a crisis pregnancy center to get a Medicaid pregnancy confirmation test. My friend was married with one child at the time. Her husband and child were at the center with her. In front of her husband and child, she was asked to relinquish three times and then forced to watch an abortion video before getting the results of her pregnancy test.
Camira was a mother that considered adoption but after delivering her son, she decided to keep. A drug test was performed on her after birth. The hospital claimed that drugs had been discovered in her system. The adoption agency threatened to call CPS if she did not relinquish her child. This was in the last year and half.
A young married pregnant waitress was waiting on a table. When the couple left, they left behind as part of their tip a card asking for a baby. That card listed a 1-800 number for a pregnant woman to call. This was of course routed to their attorney representing them. This was in the last year.
Stephanie, a minor, entered her counselor’s office to get a schedule change. The high school counselor pushed an adoption agency’s pamphlet across the desk. The adoption agency representative showed up at the school the next day. They encouraged her to run away from home to relinquish her child. This has been in the last couple of years.
A birth mother got pregnant again. She wanted to raise this child. The adoptive parents discovered that she was pregnant again. They pushed her to relinquish her child to them. They hired one of the pushiest adoption agencies in that state. The attorney of that agency was calling her right after her delivery, while she was in the hospital, on her cell phone, and at her home. She was bullied into relinquishing her child. This was less than a year ago.
This is just a few of the personal stories that I do know about. This also does not include the fathers fighting for their right to parent their child. About two and half years ago, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a report on the rights of birth parents in the process of adoption. They discussed the side effects of adoption on mothers. Many of the same risks and side effects on women who have aborted are the same as the women who have relinquished. The loss, the painful emotions and depression are all there but unlike abortion, a woman has no reprieve. She has no closure. She spends her years always wondering.
Open adoption was created to offset this. There are very few states that honor open adoption arrangements. I believe Indiana is one of them. Most times, women who relinquish under this carrot of adoption have found themselves with the doors slammed in their faces. The adoptive parents and the adoptee are long gone. The adoption agency is telling her "your loss."
Did you know that an adoption attorney represents both the adoptive parents and the birth parents? Did you know that the adoptee does not get any representation? In no other area of the law is this allowed except adoption. In the process of adoption, the rights of two parties in adoption are severed without any real due process.
Commenters have stated that adoption has changed. That the mothers of the past need to seek retribution through women’s rights. Historically, the women’s movement ignored those birthmothers. Today when those mothers present their stories, they are abruptly dismissed with “Adoption has changed.” Those situations have not been addressed. The adoption industry has just gotten sneakier with their coercion. The law always follows the adoptive parents in many of these cases.
Many people including adoptees believe that these mothers have these babies and move on without a care in the world. They do not. They mourn the loss of their child. They do not receive support on this issue. Many of these women can not vocalize their loss because societal reactions to their relinquishment. Relinquishing mothers are told conflicting lines. They are courageous and loving women for relinquishment. After relinquishment, they are told that they are the opposite. It is reflected in an article, Struggling Families in USAToday. I challenge you to read those comments. Look at the negativity aimed at a birthmother. They blame her. For the life of me, I can not figure that thinking out. A woman can not get pregnant by herself.
What are the other enticements being offered to birthmothers to get them to relinquish? Adoption agencies offer scholarships to women who have relinquished. Other agencies offer a free roundtrip flight and stay in California with all kinds of amenities. With all that being offered, what if a mother changes her minid? How many of these agencies threaten her with paying back of those expenses? Indiana has a special ICPC law. The state of Indiana must also honor the placements regulations of the mother’s state. They place these mothers under ICPC regulations. That does not happen all that often in other states.
What about young teenage girls? In the United States, a minor can make a decision to place her child up for adoption without the consent of her parents. In abortion, a minor must have parental permission in most states in order to have one. There is a huge disparity in this. A minor in adoption does not have adequate legal representation. She needs her own attorney.
How do they target women beside these enticements? Have you ever heard of adoption recruiters? Yes they do exist. They are also called adoption facilitators. Most states do not regulate these individuals. Some are outright banned in other states. How do these people target mothers? Sometimes it is in the hospitals themselves. It is through doctors and word of mouth. If my friend who was married with a child was targeted, what about single women having a child? There have been women being targeted after giving birth. I have heard stories of hospital staff begging women to relinquish their children.
In my adoption travels, I have learned that no woman owes another woman her child. A woman’s choice regarding her pregnancy is hers to make. Neither she nor the father should be coerced into relinquishing their rights as parents. A woman should not be coerced into making any decision regarding her pregnancy. Both abortion and adoption must be fully informed decisions. Both industries must make full effort to inform women of their options to include parenting. We can no longer turn a blind eye to this. Women and men need their own independent counsel in adoption. The adoptee’s rights and interests also need to be preserved. Adoption facilitators and adoption incentives need to be eliminated completely. These are just a few solutions. Many of the birthmothers will add their commentary to this as well. I pray that all will pay attention to what they have to say.