Archive for December 21st, 2007

I started this as a reply to another nasty birth mother commenting on yesterday’s blog, but it got too long. I did explain there, however, why I use the term “birth mother”.

So … moving right along …

“but the thing is, that your attitude towards natural mothers varies somewhere between frequently criticizing us and showing constant disrepect for us.”

My attitude? What does this person know of my attitude? Obviously, nothing at all.

Although I do criticize certain birth mothers … some are nasty, crazy bitches … I have never criticized birth mothers in general, nor have I shown disrespect. In fact, I have done exactly the opposite over and over again.

And, not believing coercion exists? You’re most certainly not talking about me. Check your facts.

The bottom line on ethics in US domestic infant adoption is written under one word: coercion.

Coercion of potential birth mothers comes in different forms, but all serve to undermine a expecting mom’s right to make the correct choice for her and her child, and blur the line between what is right and what is wrong about adoption.

Pressure tactics are probably the most obvious and insidious methods used to convince a pregnant woman that relinquishing her child at birth is the way to go.

Family members, sometimes well meaning but taking the short view, can be the first to start piling on weight after heavy weight of guilt, fear and diminishing expectations, as they postulate a doom and gloom scenario of the future.

It’s not unusual for parents to arrange everything from abortions to homes for unwed mothers to adoption by friends or relatives, without even consulting the expectant mother. By the time she’s informed, other parties can consider whatever action has been thought best a fait accompli.

If a situation is presented as hopeless, often hope isn’t looked for, and if the embers of fear are fanned into full-blown flames at the same time, even relatively simple options can disappear – go up in smoke.

You know who wrote that?

I did.

It’s part of a book on domestic adoption I was hired to write for Adoption.com, a book I was determined to have address the hard issues regarding adoption, and I refused to gloss over anything in favor of helping adoptive parents get the idea that it’s all about warm fuzzies. Jan Baker knows the book because I went to her repeatedly with questions while seeking real information I could pass on to potential adoptive parents. I ran almost everything to do with the triad by her for a valued opinion.

I also talked with Jenna Hatfield and quoted her on her experience with an unethical agency.

Here’s something else:

If an expectant mother can’t come up with very good reasons not to parent, everyone involved has an obligation to question why the child is being relinquished.

Has she been pressured into making this choice? Has she been encouraged to let someone else decide for her? Have there been lies involved, or strong efforts to diminish the experience and convince her that, “time heals all wounds,” and that she’ll soon get over any suffering she may feel from the loss of her child?

For the long-term happiness of all members of the triad, for the successful blending of birth parents/child/adoptive family that allows a child to grow in a safe climate of warmth and love, the foundations of the adoption must be solid and rooted in integrity.

Now, I know that many of the more rabid birth mothers will take issue, insisting that there is NO WAY IN HELL there can be any happiness or success or safe climates or warmth or love or integrity, but they are too far up their own butts to ever see the light so there’s not much point in trying to light a candle.

And here’s something I wrote just yesterday for Adoptive Parent’s Network, once again as advice to potential adoptive parents early in the process:

As hard as it may be when your longing for a child is great, it must always be remembered that what you are hoping so hard to end up with is someone else’s child right up until the point that child becomes yours, so respect, honor and ethics are paramount.

Once a match is made, there’s a face attached to the respect, honor and ethics mentioned in step eight … the face of the woman planning to place her child permanently and irrevocably with you.

Wherever and however your relationship begins, the fact is that she will always be your child’s first mother, and the sooner you understand that to the middle of your bones, the better. For the rest of your child’s life, this woman is half his or her eyes and hair and heart and kidneys, and all the nurture you so lovingly provide will not make her contributions any less integral a part of your child.

She will be the only mother for a very short time … a time that will be treasured and pondered and recalled a million times … and doing what you can to make this time as gentle, loving and without pressure as possible will benefit not only her, but the child, as well.

You will not be asked or able to assume the mother’s pain or fully comprehend her loss, but you must acknowledge it and allow her to deal with it in whatever way is best for her. This may mean more contact for a while, or no contact at all for a period of time. Do not judge.

It will be no simple thing to hold her sadness and your joy in your heart at the same time, but the reality of adoption requires that you try your hardest to do exactly that.

At the same time I was writing that, birth mothers were shoving each other out of the way to rip me to bits because I’m so ‘disrespectful’ … and not pretty enough.

What’s next, Ladies? Is there more unsubstantiated crap you’d like to pull from your collective ass and throw in my direction? It won’t stick, but you’re welcome to unburden if it makes you feel better.

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