“I don’t see how there can be coercion if a woman seeks out an adoption agency because she has already made the decision that adoption is her best choice.”
This came from a discussion I stumbled upon about ethical adoptions. It was a discussion solely between adoptive mothers and their opinions. As you can imagine, the answers were varied, but the topic was handled civilly, in my opinion, without any intentional disrespect, I believe, to mothers who have lost their child to adoption. (Though I believe using “lost her child” probably wouldn’t have gone over so well with some.)
But there was still the misconceptions. The pre-formed beliefs so common in the world of adoption, especially when it comes to the topic of whether or not an expectant mom TRULY chooses to surrender her child to adoption.
Because there are so many situations where it all seemed so easy. Expectant mom got pregnant, knew she could not care for her child, went to adoption agency, picked the “perfect” parents, made an “adoption plan” and left hospital without her son or daughter.
So cut and dried. No coercion, manipulation or misconceptions in that scenario. She knew from day one her decision , made it, and went on with her life.
But could it ever really be that easily explained and understood when we are talking about a mother losing her child, handing her son or daughter over to someone else to raise and walking away? Does it really make sense that such terrible losses happen without any outside influence?
I just don’t see it as possible. If you take out that very rare, small percent of women who TRULY do not want anything to do with their child and have absolutely no desire to parent in any way, then you are left with a huge majority of women who feel and act and have the very same natural maternal instincts all of us carry within us.
So then why, if we are created to love and care for our children, to guide them through their younger years into productive, capable adults, are there so many mothers who go against this natural act and supposively “choose” to give their child away to another to raise?
One answer is . . . because, even when it doesn’t seem so, there is always outside influences pushing a confused, vulnerable pregnant mother toward adoption, even when they might not see or recognize it in their everyday lives.
Two very poignant quotes that have always stuck with me are the ones from the Family Research Council and their publication, The Missing Piece: Adoption Counseling in Pregnancy Resource Centers, in which they state . . .
“As important as influencing adults is on this matter, influencing children must be the highest priority. First impressions of adoption tend to last a lifetime. To be effective, any public-relations effort must encompass programming and media that are child-friendly. A constant national message directed toward the next generation could help permanently change the value this culture places on adoption.”
And from the National Council for Adoption and their manual, Birthmother, Good Mother,” which encourages . . .
“Influencing children must be the highest priority. First impressions of adoption tend to last a lifetime. To be effective, any public-relations effort must encompass programming and media that are child-friendly. A consistent, national message directed toward the next generation could help permanently change the value this culture places on adoption.”
Both of these publications show, without doubt, that the adoption industry intentionally targets children to imbed their message of adoption being the “loving option.” They know that “influencing” the young can help manipulate them to further their agenda in the future that follows. They have learned, through their research, that one of the best ways to get a woman to surrender her baby is to reach out to them before they are even of the age to become pregnant.
A pregnant woman doesn’t need to come anywhere near an adoption agency to have their coercive tactics take effect. She has already been surrounded by them since she was a small child. Flooded with the message that the answer to a crisis pregnancy is adoption and anything less than that automatically makes her an unloving, selfish human being.
And add to that the lingering shame and judgment our society continues to place on women in such situations, and you have everything you need to see why it is so many expectant moms claim they knew from the start they couldn’t keep their baby and that adoption is their only “choice.”
The media, and any other avenue the Adoption Industry can find to use, is instilling in our daughters a sense of failure long before they might ever face an unexpected pregnancy. They have, and continue to, use young women for their own gain, making sure the message they send to them is that the only way they can be deemed “good” if they become pregnant outside of “ideal” circumstances, is to save themselves through adoption.
They know exactly what they are doing every time our children are introduced to another “happy” adoption story. They have no doubt of the impact it makes for our youth to see their “mistakes” rectified through sacrificing their own flesh and blood.
And because we have become such a materialistic society, so wrapped up in who has bigger and better, the industry has no problem guiding the majority of us to believe the way they want us to. To see failure in any pregnant woman who is poor and without proper support to raise her child. To see doom for a child born into anything outside of what is now perceived as the “perfect” life. And to cringe and pull back anytime we might be asked to help those who have less than us.
We pound our chests and demand women’s rights and yet have no problem with making many women feel like they will be failures as mothers, leaving them weak and helpless and encouraging those feelings for the profits and gains of another. Us women, the very ones who should be fighting the hardest for change, become a part of the message to our young girls and young women that if they don’t have what society has deemed as enough then they don’t have a right to their own child.
Confidence is power. It is the driving force behind pushing ourselves for more, reaching our goals and being the kind of person we want to be. When you strip that confidence away and send the very clear message that someone can’t do something, without even giving them a chance to try, you take away their power, their ability to believe in themselves and what they are capable of doing.
And when that stripping of confidence comes in a loud and clear message tossed over and over again on the shoulders of our young, it’s very clear why so many women facing a crisis pregnancy believe from the very start that they aren’t good enough, can’t offer enough to their own child and so must lose them to give them what they deserve.
We aren’t encouraging women to find their strength, their confidence, to become the best mother’s possible even in the desperate times. We aren’t reaching out and saying, “I believe in you and all that you can do to become the best mom your child deserves.”
Instead we are sending the very clear message that if a woman is single or still in school. If she doesn’t have a good job or make enough money, she isn’t worthy of her own child and will only harm her son or daughter by raising them.
We, society as a whole, shame and degrade them, pull them down to a level where they believe they can’t do it when we should be holding them up, supporting them and giving them the confidence that they can.
And every time we do this, every time it happens, we send a very clear message to our children that if they ever face the same situation, they will be expected to fail as well and the only way they can prove themselves and their worthiness is to give up their child.
And the Adoption Industry eats this up likes its candy and adds to the message with their own images of smiling First Mom’s “saved” by adoption. With tales of young women who would have been doomed, and in return, doomed their children, to a life of nothing but are now happy and thriving because, they couldn’t possibly do both, but by losing their child, they were able to build a good life for themselves.
Young girls don’t sit around and dream about losing their children but they are very much surrounded by the message that if they aren’t “good” enough when they do become pregnant then the only way to redeem themselves and give the best to their child is to give him or her away.
We are repeating a cycle, generation after generation, of stripping women of their confidence when it comes to their worth and ability to be a mother. We’re teaching our daughters that it’s okay to see yourself as “less than.” It’s okay for others to view you as “not as good.” We’re teaching them to hang on to their doubts and fears, to believe they can’t do it before even trying.
And worst of all, we’re teaching them that what’s important in mothering is not love and care and giving of yourself in any way you can to raise your child but instead it’s the material things and the marriage certificate and college degree that makes a good mother and if they don’t have those things they aren’t worthy of the title.
That’s one reason why so many women walk into adoption agencies already “knowing” they want to lose their child to adoption. It isn’t a decision that is just theirs to make. It’s one that has been given to them, year after year, in so many different ways. One that makes it very clear to them that keeping and loving your child when society views you as not having enough is a selfish act and the only way they can prove themselves and their love for their child is to lose them forever.