Tuesday, November 1, 2016
One Less Unicorn
For those of you who are wondering what the unicorn reference is in regards to adoption it is a term regularly used by those of us well versed in adoption experiences to describe someone who sees adoption in a purely positive light while denying the pain and trauma that it stems from for adoptees and biological parents. “Unicorns” refuse to see the dark underbelly of adoption including the fact that adoption is a billion dollar industry, that many adoption agencies are in business to make large sums of money off innocent babies, and that adoption is based on an adoptee's loss of their family of origin and a biological mother's pain of relinquishment. That pain and loss is something most endure for a lifetime. Adoption is a permanent solution to an often temporary situation.
There are so many subjects that will be talked about during National Adoption Awareness Month but the one I will address at the present moment during the #flipthescript campaign is the “Adoption not abortion” movement. I've been blogging for years about adoption and this last year after contributing to other blogs and adoption anthologies I pretty much had run dry of anything else to say that I hadn't covered previously. However, there are many times I just can't sit by an allow someone to spew false information about adoption especially when so many of us have fought for years to educate the world about the reality of adoption from our own personal experiences and tragedies.
Recently I ran into a pro-adoption/anti-abortion thread of my friend's Facebook page. I read and immediately felt that hot flush of anger and my blood pressure rising quickly. I had to chime in.
The conversation revolved around the fact that someone who had zero connection too adoption other than “she knew people who adopted” (which means you really know nothing). The sentence that triggered me the most to speak up was something to the tune of “You can adopt babies for nothing and many times the government will pay you to do so.” Not wrong but OH SO wrong!
Actually the cost of adoption is quite steep and there are lengthy waiting lists for HWIs (Health White Infants) of up to 10 years. In fact it can range anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 and upwards. Ethnic babies are less costly to adopt approximately $15,000 and upwards.
If adoption is not expensive then why are there so many adoption fundraisers being held for prospective adoptive families? Yah.
I recently did a research report for my job for a family wanting to adopt. Three agencies had gone out of business and two others no longer facilitated infant adoptions and only assisted families with adopting from the foster care system. One of the agency social workers told me “We no longer do infant adoptions because it's so heart breaking to watch parents wanting to adopt wait with little hope or have a birth mother change her mind.” Inside I am yelling “YES ALRIGHT FAMILY PRESERVATION!”
Almost half of adoptions are done through private attorneys and can be even more expensive. Think adoption doesn't operate as baby buying or child trafficking? It is legal in Texas to promise anything to a birth mother and considered a “gift” to help her out in a difficult time or circumstance with an unplanned pregnancy in exchange for her relinquishing her child to that family.
I had a friend contact me 10 years or more ago and tell me that her friend's daughter was pregnant at the age of 15 and considering adoption. She wanted to keep the baby but felt pressure to relinquish considering she had no education, no job, and felt unable to provide for a child. She said each time the girl told the family no they upped the ante. First it was a car, then added a college education, and then a house. Those things can look very promising to a girl that has little and is in a difficult situation.
The adoption was promised to be open but I let my friend know to tell this girl that if she relinquished her rights that adoption can close at any point in time and there is no recourse for her to change anything. The adoptive parents will have every right to keep that child from her until it's 18. And, by that time who knows what the adoptee will have been told, or believes, or will feel about her biological family.
The girl decided to keep the baby and from what I hear is happy with the decision she made. I heard the adoptive parents were livid and couldn't understand why she would choose such a difficult path in life when they could have smoothed it over for her and made things a lot easier. Ummmmm because it's her flesh and blood and she didn't want to “sell” it?
We shame poor young or single women who become pregnant into relinquishing yet we provide tax breaks and benefits for families that adopt. Prospective adoptive parents post "Go Fund Me" or church based campaigns to help with the cost of adopting. Yet, people are constantly up in arms because poor pregnant women and women with babies receive government assistance. Seems pretty hypocritical to me. But, when agencies and lawyers are making tens of thousands of dollars off every adoption I can understand why they would promote such pro-adoption propaganda.
Most cultures don't give their children away and instead are kept within the family and taken care of by grandparents, aunts or uncles, or siblings and cousins.
The pro-adoption advocate also spit out the “Do you want these children to grow up hungry and in poverty?” First, that's conjecture that this will in fact happen and second then why can we not help families with temporary assistance and education resources until they get on their feet? Why is adoption the first option and not the last?
Also, I know many children who grew up in poverty that turned out to be well educated functional adults. Poverty is not the worst thing that can happen to a child. Adoptive families are not immune to job loss and poverty or divorce like any other family. Adoption is NOT a magical cure to an unplanned pregnancy.
Are there parents who do not want their children, absolutely. Are their children who need to be removed from abusive and neglectful homes, yes there always will be. But, let's not make adoption a simple band aid cure for all families struggling to support and raise their children. Parents who want a child are NOT entitled to one despite what they or others think or despite a family's circumstances. Children are not commodities to be redistributed to fulfill the wants and desires of others.
One of my good friends grew up dirt poor. There wasn't much in the house but they made ends meet and yes lots of hand me downs, few of any restaurant meals, or expensive vacations. But, there was a lot of love which is what children need most.