Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Day For Change

There is a story I could write today.  One that will never go away.  Will always break my heart a little bit more when I think of it.

But after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to give this first year a moment of peace, for an innocent little girl and her natural family who lost so much more than anyone ever deserves.

I can’t, though, let this day go with complete silence.  It holds too much pain.  Too many reminders of the hard realities that are so much a part of what adoption has become in our country.  Truths that so many still choose to ignore, dismiss or simply not care about it.

How in the world can we continue to turn a blind eye to the pain and loss adoption has caused for so many?  How can so many continue to bury their head in the sand, stick their fingers in their ears, so that they don’t have to face the dark truths staring them in the face?

It’s heartbreaking to know, to see the proof every day, that we, as a society, have accepted adoption as a business providing babies for paying clients.  We celebrate a multi-billion dollar industry that places price tags on the heads of innocent children.  That uses coercion, manipulation and fraud to obtain newborns from vulnerable, struggling, unknowing parents to increase the supply for the ever-growing demand.

We’ve come to accept that a child’s biological connections mean nothing.  That growing up with those who look like you, act like you, share the same traits and talents as you are ridiculous myths that mean little when it comes to who society has decided is more “worthy” of a child.  We don’t care about children losing their identity, their heritage, their DNA bond that makes them the unique human being they are.

Instead, we care more about weakening, dismissing such things so that we can justify children losing their families in order to satisfy the desires of the hopeful adoptive couples seeking a child to call their own.  We place the importance of who should or should not parent on material factors rather than on the love and strength of family bonds.  Of the biological connection that can never be repeated or replaced.

Our hearts and our concern go to those trying to adopt while turning a blind eye to the struggles of the families broken up so that an adoption can take place.  Laws are encouraged and supported to make it easier for hopeful adoptive parents while denying more and more protections for families fighting to stay together.

We support, stand by the sides of those who take a child while knowing the father hasn’t agreed to give his child up for adoption then blame him, use any mistakes he might have made, as reason enough to force a child into an adoption that is not needed.  All the while painting the desperate couple as the saints who took in a baby, loved and wanted by their natural family and, through their own selfish actions, became the only family he or she ever knew.
              
And we shrug and claim it’s acceptable for mothers to be pressured to sign away their rights to their children while still recovering from childbirth while, so often, under the influence of prescribed drugs then turn and attack them if they change their mind after all the trauma of birth and relinquishing has cleared.  Foolishly expecting that a mother giving up her child should never have a chance to change her mind because of the loss it will cause that desperate couple waiting to claim her baby as their own.

It’s easy, I know, to attack, label, those who fight for change, for reform.  When the talk goes against all the pretty pictures of desperate couples finally getting the child society has decided they “deserved” the anger bounces back to anyone who would even suggest that it’s not such a cheery story after all.  That there is loss involved.  Another family broken in the background.

Who wants to hear that when it takes so much less effort to accept that adoption is nothing but a wonderful, loving way for others to build the family they desire.

But the very real human beings that exist in the darker reality of adoption are worth our effort.  Worth the voices who stand up for them.  Who fight for their protection.  It might not be a fight to provide children to those deemed deserving of them by our materialistic standards but it’s a fight that is still important. 

It’s a fight for protection so vulnerable, pregnant mothers are not used in the worst of ways to provide babies for those who can pay for them.

It’s a fight for fathers who should have every right to their own children.  Who should never have to battle strangers for their own sons and daughters.

And, most important, it’s a fight for the innocent children.  For society to view them as worthy and important enough to be supported in their own natural families rather than viewing them as “gifts” or products to be sold in the multi-billion dollar adoption industry so that adults can have their desires satisfied.

I know, to some, it sounds harsh and cruel.  But it is the reality of so many.  The heartbreaking truth that can’t be ignored or forgotten.  Especially not on days like today when so many remember the terrible heartbreak that took place a year ago.

And because that heartbreak was allowed to happen, we can’t give up.  We can’t stop until adoption as it is practiced today is no longer accepted and encouraged.  Until we care more about the pain and loss caused to innocent children and their families than we do the gain others receive from their terrible struggles.

So for today, for the tears already falling from the memories, there will be more fight for change, for support to reform adoption as we know it.  To help those who still face their own terrible battles to save their families and spare their children from being forced into adoptions they don’t need . . .

***Trent Reicks – His fight for his daughter is in a desperate stage.  Not only is he in need of funds to continue his fight, but the end looms dangerously in his future.  His fight for his child has been an uphill battle.  The woman wanting to claim his daughter as her own is also a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and is proof that those in a position of power have no problem with denying fathers their rights to their own children.  - - - - - Bring Ashlyn Reicks Home. ***

***Carri Stearns – Her fight for her son is also in the desperate stage.  Appeals have been filed but funds are still needed to continue forward.  Going up against an adoption agency, Carri’s case is proof to just how far the industry will go to take advantage of a pregnant woman’s desperate situation, using coercion and pressure to get her to give up her baby.  As of today, Adoption by Gentle Care is choosing to “punish” Carri for fighting to get her son back by leaving him in foster care rather than returning him to his family that loves and wants him. - - - - - Bring Camden Home. ***

***Rob Manzanares – Though he was able to successfully stop the adoption of his daughter after many years, he still is forced to continue his fight against the desperate couple who wanted her as their own. - - - - - Bring Kaia Home Now. ***

***Anthony Lingle – Another father who was able to successfully stop the adoption of his daughter and yet still is forced to continue his fight against the woman who wants to claim his little girl as her own. - - - - - Bring Hailey Home. ***

***Brandon Owen – Another soldier who fought for us and yet is being forced to fight for his own daughter. - - - - - Standing Our Ground For Olivia Rose Owen. ***

***Doreen Bain - A grandmother fighting with her son for her granddaughter.  Her son was never informed he had a baby on the way.  It wasn't until weeks after birth that he was made aware that he had a daughter through the adoption agency's attorney. - - - - - Let's Bring Hope Home Now. ***

And so many, many more.  From John McCaul, recently reunited with his daughter Sonya after eight years of fighting against her Foster Parents, Kim and Dave Hodgins, who did all they could, from the very beginning, to fight reunification.  Even going so far as trying to adopt Sonya without the permission of DCS or her family. To Ana fighting for her son Veer after being lied to and pressured to sign relinquishment papers while heavily drugged and still recovering from childbirth.

These heart-breaking stories aren't the exception.  They represent the horrible truth of what we, as a society, allow by supporting the outrageous profits in adoption.  The desperation of couples wanting to claim a child for their own needs.  The lack of protections for vulnerable mothers, fathers and their children.

For every time we try to convince ourselves that the biological connection doesn't matter.  That no harm can come from separating a child unnecessarily from their natural family.  That it’s okay to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the true tragedies that occur in the world of adoption, we accept and encourage such horrors to take place.

And every time a child is forced into an adoption, forced to give up everything that is theirs by birth in order to satisfy the happiness of adults, we guarantee these stories, these fights, will continue to happen over and over again.

None of this will stop.  None of this will change until we begin to view adoption in a more realistic light.  Until our concern rests first on the child and the importance of them remaining with their natural family, if at all possible, before it ever turns to the needs of hopeful adoptive couples.

Today, and every day, this is the reality of so many.  It’s time to put an end to it and demand better . . .

Demand change.