Tag Archives: adoption

Adoption Education

I had almost drifted off to sleep when someone in the front seat of the car said; “OH, did you hear So and So are going to ADOPT”. This was followed by abundant cheers from the other passengers along with the usual “it’s about time” and “oh, good for them they have wanted a baby for such a long time” etcetera etcetera. Of course the conversation continued and joyous details were shared. They are adopting from Russia, using an agency, going through home study, how the great expense is so worthwhile, followed by a lengthy discussion on the unreasonable adoption requirements of foreign countries.

I forced my eyes to remain closed and my mouth to remain shut.

Then someone asked the question I just knew was coming; why aren’t they adopting from here? This was followed by the usual uneducated rhetoric we have all come to know far too well. I trust I don’t even need to fill you in on what was said.

Still, I kept my mouth shut.

Then someone started talking about how they had seen on Oprah that women in Africa were having babies for people here in the states. That it was a win/win situation for all involved as these young women received more money than they had ever known to support their families and some childless couple from here got the baby they had always wanted.

“God works in wonderful ways.”

Oh for the love of PETE! That did it. TOTALLY against my will my eyes opened and the uncontrollable response spewed from my lips; HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS. NOT. OF. GOD.!!!

A great and heavy silence ensued. This was followed by a very meek request from the front seat that I explain myself. With a deep, regretful sigh I embarked on the journey knowing full well that once you begin down this road you can’t stop until you arrive safely on the shores of reason. Which can take a good long while. Dispelling life long social myth is such a monumental undertaking it just drains you of any and all energy you may have. The worst part is knowing full well that sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not, that long held beliefs are hard to dispel in one conversation and that you always walk away never quite sure if you have been at all successful.

There are times when I just wish the uncontrollable necessity I feel to educate people on the subject of adoption would just take a flying leap. Sometimes I just wish my eyes and my mouth could just stay shut.

The next day though I got to spend the entire day with my favorite ULB which of course totally made up for all adopt o’ talk with the uneducated. I loves me some ULB.

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15 Comments

Filed under Adoption Schmoption, Truthful Musings

Nightmare

The ancient office chair I am sitting on is hard and uncomfortable. I keep switching positions uncomfortably. The woman sitting behind the desk has a stoic and drawn look to her face. She is frowning intently and her eyes seem to be boring holes so deep into my chest that I can actually feel it stinging my soul. She disapproves. I feel like a robber holding up my own bank.

It  finally becomes apparent to her that I am not going anywhere so with a loud, exhaustive sigh she carefully opens the manila folder she holds in her hands. It is worn and yellowed with age. She peers at the contents.

She skims the surface of the words at first but then, drawn in by what she reads her eyebrows raise and a look of surprise spreads across her face. I slide to the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting information like a starving dog waiting for a juicy bone. The minutes feel like hours. Tick. Tick. Tick.

After carefully reading the entire contents of the thick, worn folder she slowly closes it and places it on the desk. She folds her hands into a gesture of prayer over the top of the folder as if to protect the contents from somehow escaping her hawk like clutch.

She begins to speak;

“The town that you come from is lovely, I know it well.”

Quiet thought. Where do I come from?

“Your mother has a very beautiful and rare name.”

Unique names begin to scroll across my eyes at lightening speed. It temporarily blinds me.

“She named you but I cannot tell you what your name is.”

This almost makes me laugh out loud. Almost.

“Your father chose a very noble profession. Something happened to him. Not good. No, not good at all. We’ll just have to leave it at that.”

What happened to him? Is he alive? Dead? In prison? What happened to my father?!

“You have siblings. Boys or girls unfortunately I cannot say.”

The significance of having brothers and/or sisters hits me like a ton of bricks. It makes my chest heave.  I feel myself momentarily stop breathing. It physically hurts.

“Your nationality is somewhat identifying so even though your skin is olive we will just call you white. White, being neutral, allows us to make your true nationality of no consequence.”

Apparently she believes it will also be of no consequence to my children.

“This is all I can tell you about your life.”

Even though my folder is two inches thick this is all she offers me. A lick of the bone for a starving dog. Then she stands and simply walks away with my history in her hands. I cannot move a single muscle.

I think how ironic it is that a ten dollar an hour office clerk will go home this evening knowing more about MY identity than I do.

Then I woke up and realized ……….it was no dream.

That’ll teach me not to eat cabbage rolls right before bedtime!

11 Comments

Filed under Open Records

Dobson Jr.

Paragraphein brought this to my attention;

(Emhpasis is mine)

“His involvement with the pro-life movement is a natural–and not just because of Dobson’s Christian faith. He was adopted when he was 6 weeks old.”

“Many adopted children seek out their biological parents once they are old enough to do so legally. Dobson said he never has had the desire to find and meet his birth parents, chiefly because many such reunions, he believes, do not live up to expectations.”

“”I hear a lot of adopted kids talk about feeling that something is missing in life, about not being wanted. I say, ‘Do you understand the lengths parents go to adopt?'””

“The two local ministries rely strictly on private donations, refusing to take tax dollars or public funds to avoid being controlled by government restrictions.

” the local maternity home–which houses only teenagers–has had a nearly 40% adoption rate for residents since 1995 according to Doug Eberle, Executive Director. The reason? “The residents are not swayed by peer pressure, and they have almost constant counsel reminding them that their decision should be based on what’s in the best interest of the baby. Usually, when examined under the light of reality, they realize that adoption is the best choice for both them and the baby, based on where they happen to be in life.””

“If a pregnant teen does not choose adoption, then marriage should be considered as the other good option.”

I don’t even need to say anything. It just speaks for itself.

21 Comments

Filed under Adoption Politics, Adoption Schmoption

Dobson Does Adoption

An adoptee friend of mine who lives in my home state of Colorado sent me a couple of articles recently. The first one I will write about later because it deserves it’s own post, as does this one clipped from the Colorado Springs Gazette last Sunday. It is a Q & A written by Dr. James (Focus on the Family) Dobson

It begins;

Q;

“Are adopted children more likely to be rebellious than children born to biological parents? If so, are there any steps I can take to prevent or ease the conflict? My husband and I are thinking about adopting a toddler and the question has me worried.”

Here is just a small portion of the gem of a response from Dr. Dobson;

” They may be driven to find their biological parents during or after adolescence to learn more about their heritage and families of origin. I must emphasize, however, that many adopted kids do not go through any of these personal crises. They take root where they are replanted and never give a thought to the questions that trouble some of their peers. As with so many other behavioral issues, the critical factors are the particular temperament of the child and how he or she is handled by the parents.”

You may be thinking that it couldn’t possibly get any worse but you would be wrong. Dobson goes on to say;

“I hope you won’t be reluctant to adopt that child because some special problems might—but probably won’t—develop.”

I am spitting so many nails I could build a house. Has Dr. Dobson (in all of his noble wisdom) managed to categorize the natural emotional evolution of an adoptee to know their heritage as a BEHAVIORAL ISSUE, a SPECIAL PROBLEM?!?!?! You know what I would really like to do is help to support Dr. Dobson’s theory by telling him to kiss my ass six ways to Sunday and signing it; Another Behaviorally Challenged Adoptee. But I can’t let it go at that, I just can’t because Dr. Dobson’s response is not only reprehensible, it is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE. There are actually tons of people out there who look to this ya ya for advice….and USE it as though it were gospel. I know, it’s hard to believe but there are. Poor misguided souls. In my eyes that makes Dobson’s response clear cut abuse by a person in a position of trust.

I actually feel kind of bad for the person who asked this question. They are obviously sincere about the fact that they aren’t sure they can handle raising an adoptee. Fair enough because an adoptee WILL face different issues than your run of the mill bio babe. How could we not? What blows me away is that society still refuses to acknowledge that these issues only BECOME behavioral if adopted children are made to feel bad and ungrateful for  feeling the way that they do!

Instead of nurturing the ability in our children to express their true and natural feelings about what it really means to be adopted we label this brave sincerity a “behavioral issue” and conveniently deem them a “special problem”?!?!

It’s sick. It’s just absolutely sick.

Dobson suggests here that we teach our children that it is NOT OK to be honest , that they are BAD or UNGRATEFUL if they have any feelings outside of the adoptive parents comfort zone. Which to me seems like just a PC way to say we really don’t want our kids to be a  pain in the ass. I actually find it a crying shame that someone who is willing to be somewhat honest about their concerns is provided such blathering nonsense for advice.

Sadly, I can’t see potential adoptive parents ever being educated properly about the “special needs” of an adoptee. The idea of being honest about what we, as adoptees, truly think and feel would just be bad for business. It’s sticky and messy and makes everyone really uncomfortable. After all any adoptee who has feelings outside of pure loyal gratitude simply does not fit into the “God’s Work” mold that has been swaddled so snugly around the world of adoption. And thanks to the likes of Dr. Dobson this misguided and irreparably dangerous mentality continues.

What would MY advice be to this person? Well, something my mom always used to say to me comes to mind;

If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Why? Because asking a child to emotionally starve themselves just because you find the atmosphere uncomfortable is entirely inexcusable.

18 Comments

Filed under Adoption Schmoption

Crittenton President Responds

Thanks for running our press release with information about the Crittenton Connections registry. While there is indeed currently a search function for the database–based on your feedback, we understand that it is not doing the job, and will make changes to create a tool that is more useful to people searching for family members as the database gets bigger.

The registry is a response to the phone calls received by us and our family of agencies—instead of trying to deal with these calls arbitrarily, we’re working to develop a system that in some way can assist in connecting adult adoptees, birth parents and family members.

While for most of our 125 year history we placed a priority on keeping mothers and babies together–we are very aware that there was a period of time when this was not true and that not all young women who came through the doors of Crittenton agencies/homes had a positive experience. We are in no way attempting to minimize the damage, loss or pain–or to try to make amends. But rather, we want to provide support as we can–as such, we welcome your suggestions and those of others.

I do want you to know that we do respect your perspective and will not just write it off. Perhaps there is little solace in this, but Crittenton homes did learn from those years, and today the Crittenton agencies look very different as do the young women with which they work–but the cornerstone they share is the passionate belief that young women must make their own decisions for themselves and their children. Thank you for taking the time to making suggestions that will help us do a better job.

Jeannette Pai-Espinosa
President

In response to Ms. Pai-Espinosa;

It is of some comfort that you are taking the time to listen to our concerns. That is rare in our world. Thank you for your time.

I must say based on both the history of Crittenton and information I have received regarding current practices I would not necessarily agree that keeping mothers and babies together is (or has ever been) a “priority”, but in all fairness that is entirely speculative. I’m sure there are certain people within your organization that keep family preservation as their number one goal but I am extremely skeptical that this is/has ever been a priority of the whole. After all NCF is in the business of adoption.

While I certainly agree that women should ultimately have the right to make their own decisions regarding themselves and their children, I also understand that in order to make those choices effectively they must be presented with factual information regarding both current AND future consequences of each path being considered. It has been my experience that young women are rarely counselled properly on the lifelong effects of placing a child for adoption. It is NOT something they magically “get over” as is often claimed. As I’m sure you are aware placing your child for adoption imparts LIFELONG effects on both mother AND CHILD. I understand sometimes adoption may be the best choice but unbiased facts should be presented regardless.

Facilitating the future of our children is a powerful position indeed. It would be gross negligence to hold this position and not always have the child’s best interests as your first priority. Wouldn’t you agree? When the choice to place a child is made (if in fact adoption is presented as a choice) and we are truly honoring the lifelong effects of this decision, we would be remiss to ignore the fact that this child will in fact grow up. The one party with no say in the matter and obviously most affected by this choice IS the child. If one is taking their job as steward of another human being’s life seriously, if they are truly considering the best interest of the child, one must look at the WHOLE picture. It has been proven extremely damaging, irresponsible and completely dismissive to be of the mind that this tiny human being (for which care has been placed in your hands) should never be entitled to the knowledge of their origins.

If we are to believe Crittenton has truly learned from the mistakes of the past, after having seen first hand the damage past practices has created, if you are TRULY listening……….then I guess it would be safe to assume we can count on your support for open records?

I look forward to your response.

Mia S.

7 Comments

Filed under Adoption Politics, Adoptive Family, Natural Family, Open Records

Scary Prank “PAP” call

I  am still manning the AF phone lines (ahem….any volunteers?). I get plenty  of legit calls but I usually  have to  wade  through some crap  every  time I  check the messages. I would like to mention that I  CLEARLY state on the answering  machine that AF is a SUPPORT org.  and NOT an agency  and yet  we still  get calls from  pap’s asking for help adopting a baby. I had one woman who actually left a detailed message saying  she wanted  a white, healthy boy child with blue eyes, no older than two. Preferably within  six  months. I  am NOT kidding. I threw up a little in my  mouth while listening to her message.

Yesterday I received the following prank call. The girls are young, maybe 7  or 8? No mistaking their youth. I wish I was more tech savvy so I  could post this prank  call for you to actually listen to. As  it stands  I am not, so I will have to  do this transcript style.

Check this out:

“Hi, I’m Brittney”

“And I’m Whitney”

“We  wanna’  adopt  a girl.”

“We are a lesbian couple  and we really  REALLY want a daughter”

“Yea, and we are 28 so  we  can get one. We can  get whatever we want WHEN we want cause’ our daddy’s are RICH!”

“Please call  us back as soon  as  you can”

“Yea, cause’  we want a baby now”

“UhHuhhhhh”

“Hugs and kisses”

“Toodles”

At first you want to laugh right? Kids will be  kids and all of that. But the more you sit with this (and it doesn’t take long) the more disturbing it becomes.

Those  of us here in blogland scream about  the state  of adoption affairs and yet we are rarely listened to by  those who actually  need to listen.  What will  it take? How about  the fact  that our young  CHILDREN seem to CLEARLY get what adoption has turned into?

When we talk or write of entitlement we often get the same old tired response; “What do  you meannnn by  saying we feel entitled?” “I don’t understannnnndddd!” Why  DON’T you understand? These 8 year olds understand! What is so freaking complicated about it?  Adoption isn’t about providing  homes for children in need anymore.  It is (in most instances, not all) about providing babies to people  who “need”  them. Babies have become a  marketable commodity and the adoption process has turned corrupt. Period. What is so difficult  to understand? Money CAN buy you love…. or at least it can buy  you a baby.

I think it is insanely STUPID that our adult  population won’t can’t seem  to grasp this but  our CHILDREN CAN!

4 Comments

Filed under Adoption Politics, Adoption Schmoption, Adoptive Family

Teen Pregnancy

We really need to get something straight; teen pregnancy is not an epidemic.…….teen s*x is. And adoption is NOT AN ANSWER to the epidemic. Adoption is a holy band aid. Or a band aid filled with holes anyway. It may make society feel better but it doesn’t do ANYTHING to address the real issue. It’s kind of like taking cold medicine. It appears to ease the symptoms but it doesn’t do JACK to cure the virus.

You know I have three daughters. One of which is quickly approaching her teen years. I have had The Talk with her of course. Actually a long while back we began talking about it and we continue to do so. The part that I struggle with is being very clear about things like self respect, love, responsibility and consequences to actions while in the back of my mind maintaining the very real possibility that she may just go ahead and have s*x anyway. I need to KNOW I have clearly conveyed reality and yet not perpetuated the belief that she would need to feel ashamed or afraid to come to me IF she became pregnant.

Obviously there aren’t many parents out there hoping their teenager has s*x. There are a million and one reasons why it’s NOT a good idea. I know first hand what a blow to ones self esteem it can be to have s*x when you are too young and for the wrong reasons. Like for instance thinking its a great way to make someone love you. Ugh right?

The problem with the whole “teen s*x is a SIN” angle is that it perpetuates the stigma of shame. GOOD you say? OK, lets say just for the sake of argument that one moonlit night in May your teenager allows hormones to override all of those Fear of God sermons you gave and ends up pregnant. Do you REALLY want her to be too ashamed to come to you for help? Because if we use the sin angle as an alternative to open communication about the subject that becomes a real possibility.

Frightening our teens with talk of s*x and sin is ineffective. Again, there are a million and one other reasons why it’s not a good idea. This is where personal responsibility, good choices and consequences to actions come in. This is where we talk about how difficult the REALITY of teen pregnancy is. Society perpetuating the belief that adoption is in any way a cure sends the wrong message. It cures nothing. In this instance as in so many others LANGUAGE MATTERS and our kids are listening!

The fact that we continue to allow religious organizations to get involved is not only irresponsible but often has disastrous results for our kids. Religious adoption agencies are nothing more than a biased dispenser of meds for symptoms of a virus they have no effective method to cure. The worst part about that is they don’t even clearly convey the painful and life altering side effects should one choose to take their brand of medicine. This is another strong reason why religion and adoption don’t mix. As things stand religious organizations that involve themselves in adoption services send this message to our kids; S*x is a sin so don’t do it. But if you do and you get pregnant we have the cure to wash away that sin. All it will cost you is your baby.

What a load of crap.

I am not saying adoption is not a viable choice. I understand that sometimes it may be the only choice. But at what point do we convey to our kids that being a parent when you are a teenager is insanely hard AND that the alternative may be even harder. When do we convey the fact that handing your baby over to strangers is something you NEVER get over? That choosing to have s*x may just end up putting you in the position to have to make any one of those other impossibly difficult choices? WHY aren’t we talking about this reality with our kids BEFORE they make the choice to become s*xually active?!!!

I tend to believe that it really might work if we sit down and truthfully play out the many possibilities for their future if they make the choice to have s*x too early. I am not suggesting we FEAR our kids out of having s*x like one does when they use that whole sin angle but we need to be very clear with our kids about the responsibility of choices and the reality of consequences to their actions. We can’t do that if we are too busy serving adoption up as a cure and not addressing the actual problem which is our kids having s*x too early.

I guess I could have eliminated this long post and simply said~

THERE IS NO CURE FOR TEEN PREGNANCY!!!

We have to QUIT implying adoption is some sort of cure-all pill and start addressing the cause of teen pregnancy….NOT the symptom itself. Saying adoption is in any way, shape or form a cure IS like handing out cold medicine. It may make US feel better but in reality the adoption pill hasn’t done one single thing to fix what ails our kids.

19 Comments

Filed under Adoption Schmoption, Truthful Musings