Facing my own demons

adoption, adoption loss, life,

Where are the answers?

Margie, from http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/ recently left this comment on my blog:

Sheri, I’ve recently come to your blog and have commented a few times.  I just wanted to let you know that I think you have some extremely logical views of what’s broken with the way adoption is conducted in this country.

I would really like to hear your thoughts on how we could garner the attention of the lawmakers who have raised adoption to such a positive level that criticism is seldom tolerated.  In my opinion, that’s the hurdle that needs to be cleared in order to give first mothers the voice needed to jumpstart change.

My response is Wow! What a deep question! And also, I think that she has given me much more credit then is due… I really don’t know how to do this. The problem I see is that most people don’t have a clue what really happens in adoptions!

I, myself, did not have a clue what was and still is going on until just a few months ago and I am a mother of loss. I had no clue that there were other mothers and fathers like me, that went through the same or similar situation as mine. I had no clue about the other side of adoption.. I didn’t know about agencies and what they did/ and still do to make sure that adoptions happen…And really, I didn’t have a clue how many adoptive parents were/ are totally clueless as well.

My eye opening came purely by accident. I wasn’t looking for information about adoption, or adoption loss. I stumbled onto a first mother’s blog purely by accident. I spent several days reading that blog, from beginning to present in amazement. The situation was totally different. But the feelings… Were the same. I could have wrote that blog! From there I started the “search” for more like me… And I began my education on the real world of adoption.

My point is, how many people are there that will not stumble onto one of our blogs? How many people who do not know anything “real” about adoption? All they know is what the media tells them, which is usually so far from reality that it doesn’t even look like a relative of the truth.

As for the agencies, or the people who work in the adoption field or related fields… I wonder how many of these people really even know the truth? They have had their training and have been essentially “brainwashed” into believing what they are doing is right. They go through their day thinking “I have the greatest job in the world. I get to do this wonderful thing that creates a family for people who couldn’t have a family without me and I get paid to do it!”  I doubt that many of them, if any, ever see what happens after their job is finished. And if they do meet an adopted adult who has major problems that stem from this “wonderful” world of adoption, they are told and convinced that this is not normal. These so called angry adoptees are exceptions. And so for the angry first parents…”Oh, they are just the birthparents. They made their choice and now they want to take it back. Too bad for them.”

Suddenly, it is forgotten how that choice was made. It is forgotten how the parent was told they were doing a wonderful hero type thing by giving that child a chance at a wonderful life. So the mother was never told that she could have had help in raising that child herself, so what, that wasn’t the responsibility of the agency was it? Their job was to find wonderful homes and parents for children who were so unfortunate to be born to single, poor or uneducated parents.

Now, there are some social workers who learn the truth, and become aware of the truths and the lies that surround adoptions… But what happens when they do? I think that these people ether refuse to believe it, because the truth would inconvenience themselves or they simply get out of the business and are easily replaced by another “blind” save the children type person. So yes, the answer has to be at the top, not the bottom. We have to find a way to stop producing more blind social workers.

Now, this is a new territory type thing for me. Normally, I believe in less government. I think that the government has to much control over us in our every day lives. However, if we are to move forward with adoption reform, I think we must appeal to the “law makers” of our land/S. There must be some legal regulations.

First of all, is it the job of the agencies or lawyers to council the mothers to be? They are doing that already. And we see where that leads! They are counseling these mothers right out of their children! This must be stopped. I think that there must be regulations that force these agencies to be only the facilitators. They should not be there to help with the decision process… Only to be the middle man, between the parties involved and the courts. There should be required counseling for the mother’s to be and the potential adoptive parents from outside sources. From people who are trained in truth counseling and have no interest in the outcome.

The mothers and father’s to be should be given all the facts. They should be told of all the resources available to them to help them to raise their child. They should be taught of the possible and provable repercussions if they do relinquish their child not only for themselves, but for their child.

The potential adoptive parents should also be told the truth about these issues and also the issues that may happen in their own homes. They should be told that this child may grow to be radically different from them, not only in looks but in personality. That if they choose not to nurture those difference, they may end up with very negative results that could put a rift in their family. And emotionally scar the child. They need to be made aware that adoption is not always “best for the child” They need to be given options. Such as the option to be the foster family for a young mother and her child, or a mentor.

Another thought that just occurred to me: perhaps a fostering of the mother and baby with the potential adoptive parents should be required for a time after the birth of the baby before the mother is allowed to legally make this decision. The fact that the woman is not truly mentally capable of making an informed decision after child birth should be taken into consideration. She should be allowed time to heal emotionally from the trauma of childbirth.

I can almost hear some people screaming in frustration at this thought. I can hear their protest that the woman would get attached to the child if they were required to care for the baby for an amount of time to heal from the birth. Yes! That is my point! This woman, who thinks she can not care for her child properly should be given the chance to learn that she can! What are you afraid of? That she’ll change her mind?! Well, if she changes her mind about adoption, than I say it was never meant to be!

Alas, I think I have created more questions, at least for myself, than answers. Sorry, Margie, I’m not sure that I am qualified to have those answers. How do we make our voices heard? How do we get the people who have the power to change things, to listen?

I personally do not know. I think we have to keep fighting to be heard. We have to tell our own stories over and over again to anyone who will listen. Write letters, sign petitions, rally, fight!

I feel that we are on the cusp of a new awareness about adoption. The Internet has given many voice who did not have voice before. How many years have there been people teaching other’s about the truth in adoption? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter, because this is indeed the beginning. It is, therefore a very important time! It is up to us, the small force that is forming to keep our voices and push to be heard by not only the ones who are just now hearing, but also by those who have not heard yet. We have to spread the word! There are many places to start.

Some examples of where to start would be http://www.originsusa.org/

http://easyactivism.blogspot.com/

http://www.keepyourbaby.com/

http://www.eriksmith.org/– a sight for unwed dads who lost their children to adoption.

http://groups.msn.com/NationalInfantAdoptionReformAct

http://www.fightcps.com/

I’m not sure that I came up with any answers, or questions that haven’t already been thought of before but it has raised many new thoughts in my own mind, which I will try to explore in the coming posts. Thank you, Margie, for asking this question. We need to ask questions! We need to question authority so that we can come up with answers. For now, we need to keep on plugging. Keep your voice loud and strong for what ever you believe in. Sometimes it may seem that no one is listening. But somewhere some how, someone new may hear you and learn something they didn’t know before. And then they will tell someone they know… Well you all know where I’m going with that thought….

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September 21, 2006 - Posted by | Adoption

6 Comments »

  1. I admire you Sheri for your passion and your commitment. Thank you for sharing the links with us.

    Comment by Overwhelmed! | September 21, 2006 | Reply

  2. I have recently been reading your blog. You
    write with such gentle conviction that even
    though I am an adoptive mother, I don’t really
    feel threatened or insulted and find your
    pain very tangible and real. Thank you for that.

    I think most of us who adopt do so for selfish
    reasons. We want to be a parent. Either we
    are not provided with the education from
    our social workers or we reject the bad news
    as something that happens to somebody else.

    I strongly agree with you that change needs
    to occur. I don’t like government intervention
    either, but, I do think agencies are not regulated
    nearly enough and have free rein to do whatever
    they want.

    I (hope) that the majority of adoptive parents
    would not want to be involved in unethical
    adoption practices, or to participate in a
    system that treats children as products
    to be sold to consumers. I am not sure
    of the answers but I do think about these
    issues quite a bit.
    Thanks for posting this.

    Comment by gertude | September 21, 2006 | Reply

  3. 90% of the adoption workers I work with have exactly the opinions you describe, Sheri. I hear the statements every single day. “I’m so lucky to have this job.” “I get to place children with new families.”

    Very little acknowlegement, though there are some who do truly get it, of the pain involved. They get mad when older kids say they don’t want to be adopted, when they say they’re going back to their parents someday. All the adoption literature is overwhelmingly “positive speak.”

    I have attended numerous pre-adoption trainings as well, for 3 different agencies that do homestudies. Prospective parents ARE told about the child’s loss, about the conflicted feelings of loyalty towards their families v. foster/adopt families. My take? They don’t want to hear it. They get mad when we tell them about the losses and the grief. Then 5 years later when the kids are acting out of that grief, they come back to the agency and say that the agency never told them.

    Reform needs to happen on so many levels, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

    A few of us are really trying to take the blinders off. We face numerous obstacles at ever single step.

    Comment by harlowmonkey | September 23, 2006 | Reply

  4. Hi,

    Another mom here reading and writing in blogland.
    Last week, I toured a local program for single moms and their children. I am very, very impressed.

    The program is:

    http://www.jeremiahprogram.org

    I think that it might be a possible model or partial model for support in helping mothers to keep and raise their children.

    If you take a look at their website, let me know what you think about it.

    Dbannie

    Comment by dbannie | September 26, 2006 | Reply

  5. Oh you found the NIARA!! How great that you have linked it!!!
    Thank you!!

    Comment by FauxClaud | September 30, 2006 | Reply

  6. Sheri, I don’t know how I missed your response to my question – thank you!

    You have given some of the most eloquent, logical answers to my questions. And this is the key:

    “This woman, who thinks she can not care for her child properly should be given the chance to learn that she can!”

    If adoption would turn its focus here, we would see a dramatic change in the way adoptions take place, and in their numbers. And that, I think, is what it will take to get the attention of those who today view adoption as the panacea for all problems.

    Thanks, Sheri, for this and for all your posts. Your voice is amazing.

    Comment by Margie | October 20, 2006 | Reply


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