Adoption and Abortion: Coercion


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.

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  • progo35

    Amyadoptee-I totally agree with all you say here.(Except for encouraging adoption over abortion? Also, abortion is a medical procedure, thus the parental consent…I wouldn’t think that it would be a good idea to force minors to get parental consent before going through with an adoption if that’s what they want, however, I could see an argument for the parent having a say in whether or not the minor is allowed to choose a closed adoption.) The reason I support adoption is that it can make a very difficult situation work out as a blessing for all involved, not because I believe that parents ought to be forced or pressured into relinquishing their children-if a woman or man wants to parent his/her child, that is a valid choice as well and they should be supported in that.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    I must say, I am in the middle of applying and filling out paperwork to start the adoption process. We are going by way of foster care to adoption. I really wish you would clarify in your post that you are speaking about newborn/ infants adoption.

  • modernmouse

    I appreciate the risk you are taking in exposing this. It is timely now because of the President’s speech at Notre Dame in which he promoted adoption as an alternative to abortion. I believe that in elevating one option above another he unwittingly demonizes abortion and gives support to groups that wish to prey on vulnerable young women. And they do exist in an unregulated industry. If any abortion provider receives funds under Title X they are obligated to counsel women about all three options available to them. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not medical facilities but they receive federal funds under the Community Based Abstinence Education program and have been accused by Rep Waxman and others of providing medically inacurate information.

    • invalid-0

      “demonizes abortion”??? How can a barbaric, savage, cruel act against a defenseless infant possibly be further demonized??

      Take yourself back through time and imagine being inside your mother’s womb. Would you be willing to be subjected to an abortion, i.e., poisoned, chopped to pieces or burned in saline solution??

      It’s amazing what some people consider perfectly acceptable these days.

      “…groups that wish to prey on vulnerable young women.” How anti-lifers who advocate the mass slaughter of innocent children and regularly provide false medical information to pregnant women can masquerade themselves as protectors of women’s right/health is beyond me!!!

      “Rep Waxman and others of providing medically inacurate information” Rep Waxman’s report was clearly biased and filled with misleading information and inaccuracies. http://www.heritage.org/research/abstinence/wm615.cfm How odd for a report that claims to expose the “misleading tactics” of CPCs. Despite Rep Waxman’s biased reporting, many of those against life hold on to the data in his report as if it were gospel truth thus misleading more vulnerable women. How does this protect women’s health/rights?

      Re federal funding, abortion providers receive a whole lot more. Despite their long history of deceit and coverups and even protection of sexual abusers, Planned Parenthood receives $300 million in federal funding annually.

      • invalid-0

        “Take yourself back through time and imagine being inside your mother’s womb. Would you be willing to be subjected to an abortion, i.e., poisoned, chopped to pieces or burned in saline solution??”

        Let’s see. Assuming that a clump of cells could actually think & reason like a grown up, already born human – actually no, that’s just stupid. We know that they don’t.
        If I was aborted- I wouldn’t know it, wouldn’t care. I would NOT EXIST. And that doesn’t fill me with the same existential dread that it apparently fills you with.

  • amyadoptee

    Although my posts are geared towards domestic infant adoption, the elements of it are still in other parts of foster care adoption and international adoption.  

    Adoptees from foster care still have many of the same issues with their records as regular adoptees.  I do commend you for adopting through the foster care system.  You need to aware, however, that it is also filled with corruption and coercion.

  • invalid-0

    You are so right Amy. Adoption causes lifelong grief and pain – the only winners are the adoptive parents. No newborn baby should be separated from its mother – we wouldn’t do that to an animal. I guess with all the US film stars running around the world making it seem like something altruistic, when in fact they are exploiting the vulnerability of poor families every infertile couple thinks it is there absolute right and they are entitled to take another woman’s baby.. It is so unbelievably cruel to expect a mother who bonds with her baby in-utero to carry her baby and then give her baby to strangers. The research about the mental health damage to mother and child is extensive, but what I notice is that when right wing pro-adoption, antiabortion groups promote adoption they do not tell the mothers the effect separation will have on them or their babies. It is like big tobacco promoting smoking when they know it causes cancer. Your right about Obama – I wonder how he would feel if one of his daughter’s got pregnant – would he expect her to carry his grandchild for the benefit of strangers? Why no-one has not sued the adoption promoters for promoting adoption, for coercing it, without including adequate warnings about the real extent of the mental health damages is beyond me. I know adoption agencies quote research on their sites to promote adoption that is produced by one of the right-wing organisations like the Search Inst. Or Heritage Foundation which is utter fabrication – the only way to stop this cruel trade in babies is for adoptees and their real mothers to join together and take legal action. .

  • progo35

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of having my adoption compared to a "Baby trade." Aodption benefits children and women if it is done correctly.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • amyadoptee

    The key words here are “if done correctly.” I am seeing more and more situations where it has not been done correctly. I see it on all sides to include the adoptive parent side as well. In my mind and my opinion, it is the fault of the adoption industry. I am not saying all agencies are bad. I think we have more bad than good. Check out the links provided in this post.

  • amyadoptee

    The key words here are “if done correctly.” I am seeing more and more situations where it has not been done correctly. I see it on all sides to include the adoptive parent side as well. In my mind and my opinion, it is the fault of the adoption industry. I am not saying all agencies are bad. I think we have more bad than good. Check out the links provided in this post.

  • invalid-0

    please see the link >

    http://about-orphans.blogspot.com

  • invalid-0

    I am from Australia. My son was adopted 42 years ago. We are in contact. Last Mother’s Day I lost part of the day – my memory blanked as it did years ago. I hope any person adopting a child can live with the damage they can do to a birth mother.

    • invalid-0

      I totally agree I am Australian as well and if they saw what us mothers went through years ago they would be sick. All the stories of 250 thousand babies in this country stolen to give to infertile couples. Our child is out there thinking we dumped them.

      This can never be taken back the time we lost with our child. I have heard from many adtoptees that they have been sexually assulted by the adopted father from when they were very young. That’s another reason to be concerned.

  • progo35

    Anon, I sympathize with your pain, but I do NOT think it is acceptable for you to blame the adopting parents for your feelings. Adopting parents are NOT hurting the birth mother, they are allowing her to make the choice to put her child up for adoption.

    Unfortunately, you did adopt during a time when birth parents didn’t have the kind of rights that they do now, and for that, I am very sorry. May you find peace.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • http://profacero.wordpress.com invalid-0

    Laurel, that was a fairly cruel response to Anonymous and it is suprising anyone would come up with that after having read the article and the comments thread.

    Sure, lots of adoptions do benefit all parties, are done sensitively, and so on.

    But I know plenty of people who really have treated it as a trip to the mall. They go to a poor country, where mothers give up children they would keep if they had $50 a month or so as to bring them up in at least marginally healthy circumstances, and spend tens of thousands of dollars to (essentially) buy these children … all because they want a newborn and not a Black one, or don’t want to go through as much screening as you have to go through in the U.S.

    Then they come back and say blithely, oh, I don’t really care what village my daughter is from. And they think they’ve done a great thing, making her a suburban-American.
    I’ve seen this sort of thing more than once in the past five years.

    And then, since I don’t have a problem with abortion, I don’t think it is anyone’s duty or that it is necessarily better to have a child to put up for adoption than it is to abort it if it is unwanted.

    Finally: I wonder how many women, also within the U.S., would KEEP THEIR OWN CHILD rather than either adopt it out or abort it, if food, education, and health care for it were free, as they are in Scandinavia? Call it “welfare” if you want, I think it’s progressive.

  • progo35

    Professor Zero,
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is the author of a book called "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History." I’m surprised you didn’t know that, or hadn’t at least heard the phrase before reading my tag line. Now that we’ve established that I am not Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, let me say that I think it is wrong to blame adoptive parents for adopting children, especially when such parents often are concerned with the same justice issues you bring up. I can sympathize with Anon without agreeing with what she said. I am not being cruel for responding to Anon’s statement that she hopes adoptive parents realize that they’re hurting the birth mother by adopting. That doesn’t make any sense: how is it the adoptive parents’ fault that the woman gave her child up for adoption or that she couldn’t take care of him/her? We should all be concerned with making sure that adoption doesn’t become what it was in the 1950s and ’60s, but that has nothing to do with blaming the adoptive parents for their birth mother’s choice or her situation.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • amyadoptee

    There are adoptive parents who get this thinking and actively fight against this kind of coercion. There are adoptive parents who point blank believe that single women should not have any children period. Case in point is Heidi Saxton. I am by no means one who blasts all adoptive parents. I have a set myself. I love them passionately. Even my adoptive mother is horrified at the situations going on today.

    Adoption has changed in some respects. In other respects, it has not. It seems to have moved to other countries. Look at Guatemala. In the United States, Stephanie’s case alone shows that there is still coercion in adoption. These situations that I have mentioned are people who have contacted me asking for help.

    I admit that I almost reluctant to show documented proof of coercion. Many mothers today if they had support could raise their children. Even the pregnant teenagers out there could do it with support from their families.

    I know how you feel Progo. I did not want to believe that my own adoption had the possibility of being bad. It did though. My father wanted to raise me. He was denied his right to do so because he was not married to my mother. The adoption agency has his information but they refuse to make contact with him because it is against their policies. It is not against the law mind you but their policies. There must be at least 20 active cases in the United States pending now in superior courts around this country. These are the ones that I know about. How many do we not know about?

  • progo35

    Have you attempted to sue for your biological father’s information? If it’s not against the law, than the agency has no right to keep it from you. It sounds like you just have a lame agency. My biological father wanted to keep me, too, but my biological mother did not like his father and stepmother, who offered to raise me. Although, I suppose he could have fought to keep me, given that he had parental rights before it was terminated. But, he wasn’t “coerced” by anyone besides my birth mother. But, again, this was in 1982. He and my birth mother had the opportunity to choose my adoptive parents, get counseling, and get updates on my progress, etc. That aside, I still don’t think that any of the issues going on with adoption in other countries is the adoptive parents faults. It isn’t their job to ensure that their childrens’ birth parents are treated correctly during the process unless they know of coercion in that individual case.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • amyadoptee

    They can get away with that. I have tried. The state abides by the adoption agency’s rights more than the adoptee or the birthparents.

  • progo35

    Amy, I was wondering: if you don’t know your birth father’s information, how do you know that he wanted to keep you? Just wondering. That sucks about Indiana honoring the agency’s policy more. Keep fighting….I’ll pray for you, and am glad that I know more about these issues by talking about this.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    How could the children be "stolen" if they were given up?

     

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

     

     

     

  • invalid-0

    “Adoption causes lifelong grief and pain – the only winners are the adoptive parents. No newborn baby should be separated from its mother.”
    good lord, what a load of crap. We don’t live in a perfect world. If we did, then every baby would be born into a loving, caring, two parent family, within a society with no poverty, racism, inequality, etc. I was adopted. I have not endured “lifelong grief and pain”. Quit spewing your openness garbage. Some people need it, some people don’t.

  • invalid-0

    The states get to soak money from the fed whenever they place a foster child into adoption under CAPTA and the Safe Families Act signed by Clinton. I believe they recieve a few thousand for each one. This is undoudtedly the driving force behind the coerced adoption to which Amy alludes, and the arangement of foster-to-adopt.

    It is also causing many children to be forcebly removed from families on various pretenses. Get a search engine and look up Mondale Act 1974.

    It amounts to trafficking of human beings for the benefit of the state.

  • invalid-0

    I have to preface this with stating that there certainly are a lot of good things that come from adoption; people don´t have to pay for the expensive invitrofertilization process that may not work, women who don´t want an abortion but don´t want a baby either have another option, etc.

    But after saying that, I have to say there are also bad things, depending on how things are done.

    I recently studied illegal adoptions in Guatemala; these adoptions are so terrible that several countries have outlawed adopting babies from Guatemala.

    Sometimes doctors tell illiterate mothers they have to put their fingerprint on a blank sheet of paper, telling them it´s necessary for their medical records, then once the fingerprint is done, fill out the sheet with a promise that the woman will give up her baby for adoption–even if she didn´t want it.

    Some doctors lie to the mother, telling them their child is severely ill and will most likely die, so its better to give it up. Then the doctor sells the baby.

    Sometimes people who benefit from the sale of babies (And I do mean “sale” because there are those whose primary interest in babies is how much money they can make off of them) first request that the mother give up her baby, but when the mother refuses, threatens her. These threats are extremely frightening, considering that in one year, over 560 women were killed but no one was prosecuted: women feel they have to give up their baby otherwise they will die and the law will not protect them.

    Sometimes there are outright kidnappings–mother goes to sleep in the hospital with her baby, wakes up, baby gone. There have also been reported kidnappings of pregnant women.

    The punishment for stealing a baby is lighter than the punishment for stealing a car, and it is a punishment that is nearly never enforced.

    These facts are all documented in the UN report of the special rapporteur, year 2000. In succeeding years, analysts doing research discovered the situation had not changed, in spite of recommendations on how to fix the problem.
    UN report here: http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/0/eee276066375879b8025689600531c70?Opendocument

    (UNHCHR stands for UN (random h, probably huridoca) commission on Human Rights. )

  • invalid-0

    I am a birthmom. This article is not correct in regards to legal representation. I did have my own lawyer in my child’s adoption and my son’s birthfather had his own lawyer. The adoptive parents never spoke to these lawyers.

    • invalid-0

      Your situation is rare, Jennifer. Hundreds of thousands of young mothers and fathers had no legal representation. That’s still the case. Even when they do, they have few protections. They’re at a huge disadvantage because they don’t understand how the system works. Adoption lawyers, agencies and prospective adopters do.

      Adoption attorneys are part of a good old boy network. Their business is selling children, not helping children and their parents. They grade children like meat and price them according to demand, then sell them to the highest bidders. We’ve seen their pricelists. Infants and toddlers are selling for 25-250K in the U.S.

      When the adopters pay for “separate” attorneys, the attorneys get kickbacks and/or referrals from the adopters’ attorney if the natural parents surrender. They work as a unit and cover for one another. The same goes for many judges who finalize adoptions. They’re just lawyers with another name.

      I don’t know about your child’s adoption. I hope you and your child’s father were fully informed about the serious risks involved in child surrender and adoption placement. When I was a search and support group facilitator I helped hundreds of natural parents, but didn’t encounter one who gave fully-informed consent to his or her child’s adoption.

      Maybe you did. But if adoption agents told natural parents the whole truth about adoption they’d put themselves out of business, so I doubt it. They won’t, so we intend to put them out of business however long it takes.

  • progo35

    Thank you, Jennifer. It’s wonderful to here from someone for whom the adoption process went well. I am sure that your child appreciates the sacrifice that you made for him or her. Thank you for your bravery in choosing adoption.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    According the FactCheck.Org, Obama and the majority of Democrats voted against the Family Adoption Tax Credit in 2007. What hypocrisy from people who say they want “common groun” on abortion and desire to make it “safe, legal, and RARE.” The $11,000-deduction that the bill allows really helps middle class families–like my wife and myself–who are in the process of adoption and for whom the process entails very much financial sacrifice. On this issue, Obama and the Democrats have not been our friends and the concern is now that he will not renew the Republican enacted tax credit in 2010.

    Join me in fighting for adoptive families and children and against Democrats who say one thing and do another.