Monday, March 3, 2014

Creating A Crisis

- - - “I am a birthmom working with pregnancy resource centers to establish wordtracks for counselors to talk to pregnant women about the choice of adoption. I would appreciate if other birthmoms can respond with their initial objections to choosing adoption and what helped them overcome that. Thank you!” - - -

That wonderful gem was left on the Open Adoption Support Facebook Page.  I tried but couldn’t verify if it was truly a First Mom asking the question or not.  But it was sickening to see somebody working with pregnancy resource centers – because we all know how trustworthy they are – try to solicit First Mothers into helping them coerce more vulnerable mothers into giving up their babies by helping identify those “objections” they work hard to counsel pregnant mothers past so they will, ultimately, see giving up their babies for adoption as a much better “choice” than actually keeping and raising their own sons or daughters.

The post sounded very familiar to this wonderful tidbit from The Missing Piece: Adoption Counseling In Pregnancy Resource Centers . . .

- - - “Give women sound REASONS that will COUNTER the desire to keep their babies.” - - -

And the explanation from the NCFA for their creation and teaching of the coercive “options” counseling . . .

- - - “The mission is to educate about adoption to overcome the potential BARRIERS to considering adoption.” - - -

None of that is about truly helping a vulnerable mother decide what is best for her and her unborn child.  It is all meant to use manipulation to get her past the reasons why she doesn’t want to give up her baby and work her around to where she believes the only way she can truly prove her love for her child is to give him or her away to a better, more-deserving couple.

And the sad reality, that so many don’t think about or don’t want to think about, is that such counseling, created to manipulate mothers past the “barriers” keeping them from giving up their babies, actually creates even more crisis for the vulnerable, pregnant mother and/or escalates the crisis she is facing.

Some though, sadly, still see this as a good thing.  Even on that post on Open Adoption Support, there were those who thought it was a good idea such a question was being asked. 

I, personally, don’t understand how anyone can be supportive of any act that manipulates or coerces a vulnerable mother into giving up her baby.  Especially one that is practiced REGULARLY in the counseling so many put so much faith in.

How many times do we hear adoptive parents justifying that their child’s First Mom truly did want to give up her baby because she went through the counseling provided by the adoption agency?

How many times do we hear First Moms praising the kindness and care of their counselors without ever questioning that they just might have been worth more than the very carefully scripted “wordtracks” created for one purpose . . . to encourage them to believe it was best to give up their children.

Options counseling, in so many ways, is used to further cause harm to a vulnerable mother.  To increase her sense of fear, uncertainty, until she is trapped in a corner and feels she has no other choice but to give her child up for adoption.

Think about it.  Think about what our minds tell us is right in certain situations compared to how adoption counseling uses a crisis to their advantage . . .

* * A teenage, pregnant mother  confides in her adoption counselor that she has found a program that would allow her to continue her high school education while also providing child care and helping her with parenting classes.
    True counseling by someone concerned about what was best for this mother and her unborn child would, logically, provide help and guidance for this mother in checking out the program.  Learning everything about what it offers.  How she can enroll.  What she can expect for both her and her child.
    But the accepted and widely taught “options” counseling for adoption views this as a barrier keeping the vulnerable mother from choosing to give her baby up for adoption.  Instead of help and support, they do their best to remove any such confidence from the mother and create an even greater “crisis” for her to deal with by telling her, keeping her baby means she will, more than likely, never graduate, and worse than that, she will end up dooming her own child to never graduating as well. * *

* * A pregnant mother with two small sons comes into her weekly counseling session after a good weekend spent with her mother.  She happily tells her counselor that they had a really good talk while they were together and her mother has agreed to let her move back home and will help her raise her two sons and unborn child.
    In our hearts, our minds, we know, if we truly wanted to do whatever was best for this mother and her unborn child, the best possible step to take would be to set up a time to meet with her and her mother.  To go over the details about her mother helping her with her children.  To be sure everyone was on the same page.  That they all understood what would happen and how to seek help if they hit obstacles along the way.
    But, again, for the adoption industry and their way of counseling, this in another barrier standing in the way of the mother giving up her child.  Instead of helping her work through the solution she found with her mother, options counseling, instead, would yank such security away from her by telling her how unfair it was to expect her mother to take on such a responsibility.  Or frighten her with the false information that family and friends that offer to help walk away in the end and aren’t there as they promised.  They might go even so far as to tell the vulnerable, pregnant mother that her own mother isn’t “respecting” her or what she “truly” wants for her child.  That she is somehow going against her, deceiving her by offering to help rather than encouraging her to give away her baby. * *

How can such treatment against pregnant mothers and their unborn children not anger us, make us want to stand up in one united voice and declare we aren’t going to stand for it anymore?

How can anybody  justify a vulnerable mother’s crisis not only be used against her, but actually made worse, so that she will give up her baby?

Is this really what we want to support . . .

* * A pregnant mother has been doing some research online and confides in her counselor that she’s not sure she can give up her baby because she’s read other adult adoptees sharing how adoption hurt them and how they suffered the loss of their first families and the very last thing she wants for her child is to be hurt in any way.
    In true caring and kindness for a pregnant mother and her unborn child, such concerns would be taken seriously and answered with honesty.  It wouldn’t ever be questioned that she did deserve to know how adoption may harm her child as well.  That, yes, there are many adult adoptees who speak out about how adoption has affected them.  About the research that has shown that a large percentage of adoptees do struggle, in different ways, from being given up for adoption.
    Of course, since this is viewed as nothing more than another insignificant barrier standing in the way of a pregnant mother giving up her child, the counseling she will receive, instead, will reinforce how much better her child will be if she gives him or her away.  How grateful they will be that she didn’t raise them herself.   The adult adoptees who are speaking out will be degraded, dismissed as nothing more than ungrateful “children” who had the “rare” bad experience. * *

* * On her first appointment, a pregnant mother states she isn’t interested in adoption at all.  She knows she wants to keep and raise her baby and is seeking help to be able to do so.
    This one seems so obvious, doesn’t it, a pregnant mother knows she wants to keep and raise her baby and is asking for help to do so.  The best, and only thing, to happen for her is to assist her in getting that help.  Empower her, in whatever way possible, to be the best possible mother for her child.  Offer her the resources and support she will need to continue her pregnancy, give birth, and start out on a good footing in raising her little one.
    But for the adoption industry and the counseling they offer, this is the biggest barrier they face and the one they fight hardest against.  They do all they can, with every tactic they can learn, to turn this confidence in a mother around so that she is thrown a crisis to deal with that will, hopefully, lead her into believing giving up her baby is her only choice.  Such confidence is immediately attacked in whatever manipulative way possible - - such as their worksheets created to make even the best adjusted mother feel as if she can’t possibly live up to the responsibilities of raising her child - - whatever it takes to eat away at her self-esteem, her belief she will be a good mother to her child.  Whatever trick they need to use to force her into a crisis so that she will fall in line with the others and come to realize loving her baby means giving them away. * *

None of this is right.  True, unbiased, crisis counseling revolves around helping to empower the one struggling, building their confidence, encouraging them to find solutions to the fears and obstacles facing them.

Adoption counseling does the exact opposite.  It is specifically designed to weaken a mother facing a crisis situation.  To discourage solutions to the obstacles and fears she faces because those solutions are viewed as “barriers” keeping her from giving up her child.

It isn’t about helping her overcome but is instead about holding her back, creating more obstacles to face, problems to solve, until she is so broken she truly believes giving her own child up for adoption is her true “choice” and the only way she can prove her love.

It isn’t about her, isn’t about her unborn child.  It is about guiding and manipulating a vulnerable mother, using her crisis against her, increasing it so she feels drowned, overwhelmed by it, so that the counselor can overcome the “barriers” preventing her from giving up her baby to that more deserving couple paying good money for an agency, attorney, facilitator to find them the baby they desire.

And in the worst of cruelty, the mother is then left in a worst place than she was to begin with while suffering the worst loss possible . . . her child.

This is the harsh reality so many don’t want to acknowledge or accept.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  It doesn’t exist.  Praising or encouraging the options counseling so many pregnant mothers face, supporting those in the industry using First Moms to learn how to better work past the barriers keeping them from giving up their babies, only supports and continues such evil.

There is nothing, no plausible excuse, to accept such practices, such horrible actions against a mother and her unborn child.  EVERYONE is worthy of so much more than this.  Of the respect, kindness and care to truly be helped for who they are not for the child they have to offer.

It’s time, long past time, to accept that the only ones that options counseling benefits is the adoption industry hoping to profit and the hopeful adoptive couples wanting a child while, in the process, terribly damaging a vulnerable, pregnant mother and her innocent, unborn child . . . the one’s deserving of so much better than they are given.

The ones forced apart by encouraging, rather than solving, the obstacles preventing them from being together.  Obstacles that become even greater once options counseling is used.  Once there is no hope left in a mother and child being spared an unnecessary separation for the benefit of others.

A benefit that CAN NEVER be worth the loss it causes.


  1. WTF! Maybe we could work on some wordtracks to help women overcome their objection to being punched in the face while we're it.

  2. Having a child out of wedlock MORE natural and sane then a woman giving her baby up for adoption to strangers or people she has known less than a year.

  3. *is MORE natural..

  4. When I brought up to my social worker that some people didn't like adoption very much, they were like, "it's the internet, people can write whatever they want." Yeah, I'm pretty sure I don't write about adoption on the internet because I feel like writing whatever I want!

  5. Yikes. What is there to say? I am a "birthmom"--stop right there!--working for The Man in the adoption industry. How can I get other women to fuck up their lives by giving their kids away????
    WTF is the only comment that encapsulates what I feel.

  6. People should be councilled against adoption and aware of all the pain for mother and child that can come from adoption. They should also be councilled on all the joys parenting brings. I had no idea how good being a mum would b before I was one. Society makes us think that our lives will be stunted by children instead of enriched.

  7. I counsel at a crisis pregnancy center, so first let me thank you for your blog and second I ask that you don't hold that against me by assuming you understand my thoughts and motives, before I share them.
    You wrote:
    "And in the worst of cruelty, the mother is then left in a worse place than she was to begin with while suffering the worst loss possible . . . her child."
    This is the very reason I do this volunteer work, because I don't want to see women lose their children. I want to support them and empower them. For 24 years, I have suffered the loss of my child to the abortion industry and counselors who promised a quick fix solution to my crisis. There was no one willing to tell me it was possible to continue as a scholarshiped college student and still have my baby. There was no one to tell me that within a year I would be pregnant again and on the streets because I would be seeking a replacement for the baby I had lost. Those "Adoption is an Option" billboards have haunted me for years: "Why wasn't I strong enough to give my baby a good life, why was I so selfish that I didn't even try to hide my pregnancy and secretly place my baby with a loving a family, would I have gotten caught? Would I have avoided getting pregnant again?" And then I would go the other way, the signs made me nauseous, "Oh those evil people, coercing women into adoption, ugh they should be so ashamed. Why aren't they helping women to keep their babies?" Recently I found myself driving in the area where my mother lives seeking the sight of those signs, I hadn't seen then in a few years. Now that I counsel women in crisis pregnancies would I feel differently towards them or would they be as vomit inducing as always. Yet, they weren't there and suddenly I found myself longing for a time when the "culture of death" wasn't so prevalent, Planned Parenthood signs were there, porno websites had billboards, but no more Adoption is an Option signs. I didn't know if I should be sad or glad. Reading your blog helps me remember why I counsel and be glad that those signs aren't there anymore.

  8. Continued from previous comment:
    Many years later I had another child, as a traditional surrogate, in a bizarre attempt to make up for not having chosen adoption. My boy's family shares everything with me on facebook and I love him and his family, but I can't help but wonder what I thought I would accomplish by doing it. As for the birthmom working with crisis pregnancy centers, I do not doubt it. Many women who work at these centers do so because of their past experiences, with abortion, with adoption, with teen pregnancy etc. We have a birthmom who counsels and speaks at counselor training sessions. She actually placed two babies and aborted one. She talks about adoption as a good option, but I still don't feel right about bringing it up with clients. I agree with everything you say about ways women should be empowered. The only time I have ever mentioned the word adoption in the counseling room is when women were dead set on abortion, and I asked if they had considered it, most have and have said they couldn't do it, which I have used as a spring board to discuss the option of parenting. Most women who abort aren't doing it because they don't want their babies, it is because it is a crisis pregnancy. Never would I mention adoption to a woman who wants to parent her baby. I just can't agree with the idea that abortion is the way to go, empowering mothers is the way to go. Adoption and abortion are both the loss of a baby and that totally saddens me. No, I don't have to wonder about where my baby is and about my baby's life, I get to have closure. But I hope that no one discounts that I have the pain of the loss of a child and I also have the guilt of knowing what I did to my baby and no chance of reuniting this side of heaven. I beg you not to discount that. Reading your blog, you don't seem to be the kind of person who ever would discount my pain, but I have seen many people who do. My dad told me when I left for college that if I ever get pregnant, I had better have an abortion and not even bother to tell him, so that is what I did. The pressure and coercion is everywhere, whether to abort or adopt, but empowerment is few and far between. That is why I counsel at a pregnancy center, to empower women.

  9. It is me again, I forgot to mention something. 23 years ago, when I was pregnant again and on the streets, it actually was one of those crisis pregnancy centers where I turned for help. I was mentally empowered this time, I wanted to parent my baby and that was that, but I needed help with a place to live, baby items, clothes, etc, so I went to one. I went leery of them though, I worried how they would treat me a person who had had a previous abortion and I wondered how they would treat someone who wanted her baby. They were wonderful and found us a family to stay with once my daughter was born and gave us things we needed. I was so thankful for their help that years later I wanted to help others. I don't remember them ever mentioning adoption to me, but I do remember being so leery that when I walked in I asked them if they help people who wanted their babies, I literally, said, "my crisis isn't the pregnancy it is the homelessness." I try to treat clients like that, that the crisis isn't the pregnancy but the people and circumstances around her.