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"Stigma" defined-A scar left by a hot iron, a mark of shame or discredit. Does this change the answers to adopteeme's previous question?

I was going through the answers that adopteeme was getting, and the answers about the "misconceptions" about adoption, such as: 1) rich aparents, or 2) abortion vs adoption, or 3) being confused, bitter, etc. or 4) looking for birth family means you didn't like your aparents, were all MISCONCEPTIONS involved in adoptions whether today or in the past.

However, I looked up the word "STIGMA" (Merriam-Webster) and got a much darker picture. Scar left by a hot iron (similar tattoo) shame, discredit, identifying characteristic of disease,... and it made me wonder how the answers would change in light of this.

What SHAMEFUL SCARS (stigmas) are still out there in society about adoption?


Asked by doodlebopfan at 7:29 PM on Oct. 13, 2009 in Adoption

Level 20 (9,525 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (39)
  • I think there is definitely still a stigma in society concerning teenagers and pregnancy and another for being poor and pregnant.
    I still see it often enough in online forums and day to day life to believe both situations can, and do, cause one to feel shame from the negative way they are viewed by others.
    I think being single and pregnant has definitely lost most of it's sting, but that would be if you are older and more financially set to have a baby.
    I do also see a lot of judgement passed down if you don't match the perfect picture of married, living in a middle class neighbor with the mini van in the driveway and playground set in the backyard. I've seen, many times, mom's who do not fit this scenario being looked down on as "less than."
    I also agree with Southern, though, even if there is still adoption related stigma in society, that does not mean it in any way should play into the fight for opening records!!!

    Answer by bellacocco at 2:18 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • I know previous stigmas were: Unwed mothers. Bi-racial babies. Someone had an affair.

    However, these are acceptable in today's society. I'm sure they may be used as excuses in some specific families even today, but not the norm. Also, being adopted was unspoken of in the past with closed adoptions, but today is spoken of from birth or youth in most cases.

    So, is there SHAME in society regarding adoption? I believe it is spoken of in the positive nowadays.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 7:33 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • As I was reading the responses, I was thinking that many were confusing "stigma" with misconceptions, myths, etc. In some segments of society, there is still shame associated with adoption. Although the stigmas you mentioned have lessened, I think you will find that there is still some shame associated with them. Not everyone approves of single moms and bi-racial babies. People's religious beliefs often are part of the picture. One religion I know of only in the past few years has stopped advising ALL single women to relinquish their babies. And, having an affair may be associated with less shame than it used to be, but I think it depends on who you talk to about the subject.

    "A scar left by a hot iron" makes me think of being "touched by adoption." Some birth moms feel less "touched by adoption," but more "scorched" by it. Stigmas that society impose are an issue, but how we judge ourselves is also a huge issue.

    Answer by Southernroots at 8:06 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Thank you doodle!
    I'm looking forward to see if answers change

    Answer by adopteeme at 8:10 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Southernroots, I agree with you. As I was typing this, I was feeling like I wanted to separate the question from the stigmas from society, not the shameful, guilty feelings that triad members impose on themselves at various times thru their journeys. Also, from some stigmas perhaps even wrongfully imposed on adoptees by adoptive parents. (I don't mean most adoptive parents, but we do know of women on here who were adopted and had awful adoptive parents as well as birth mothers whose children were abused by adoptive parents. Again, hopefully not the norm, but it's happened.) But the question is in regards to the stigmas imposed by society today.

    I believe that you are right, that in some religions or churches there are stigmas regarding unwed mothers still today, although most that I know of realize that none of US are perfect, only Jesus is.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 8:27 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • So, what adopteeme is getting at, (per her response to her own question at 6:34pm) is if there are no longer social stigmas attached to placing children for adoption, then why shouldn't there be open records for adoptees?

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:00 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Scars, run very deep at times, and are so much "wider" than we wish them to be...yes? However, I must disagree, with what you state, Doodle, unwed babies, and affairs, are indeed alive and well, at least in small town America, where it is still shunned by the religious groups(Catholic) especially! I , am however speaking from MY very own back yard. Even I make it to the big city, about 1 times per month, it is not so 'noticeable' there...but is still very much alive...even in K.C. So to even think it is no longer shunned, is indeed a falicy. What one percieves as "touched", and what one sees as "scorched", is definately left to the one whom faces this.....possibly our young un-wed mothers, whom are vulnerable, and naive, to the ways of the world of Adoption. In ending....Stigmas are alive and well here in MY community at least, and to dismiss yet another stigma(hot-iron):( A great post, C.J

    Answer by ceejay1 at 10:15 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • None, I have never thought or heard anything negative about adoption to the degree you are talking. I have always thought of adoption as a very loving option on all parties parts. I have never really heard anything negative about being adopted or giving a child up for adoption. Not being an adoptee myself, I have no idea how they really feel. All of the people I know that were adopted are happy, well adjusted adults. I do not view adoption as baby stealing- very few people put their children up for adoption. As far as children taken in through our foster care system. I was a foster Mother and never came across a child that had a home life that did not warrant being in the system. This is my experience in the places I live and the people I associate with.

    Answer by wildboyz1994 at 10:28 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Aha! Then yes, I would change my answer.....

    Stigma: a mark of shame or discredit

    The fact that I am an adult (fully capable of making legal decisions about my own person in the eyes of the law) - yet as soon as I mention my adoptee status everything changes about what records I'm able to legally access; that I do NOT qualify for some organ donor programs because I cannot testify to my full medical background; that some people (who aren't even part of my adoption story) feel it's okay to discredit my feelings now because "back then" others made decisions on my behalf and when those feelings don't fit their beliefs about adoption I am made to feel shameful about not being grateful.

    Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 10:34 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Sadly doodlebopfan I think you are ahead of the curve in your enlightened view point.My current experiences show there is still a big stigma attached to unwed pregnancies.In the high school my children attended a pregnancy is rare,at least known ones,but is the kiss of death.Not only by the kids but parents as well.These girls(never the fathers) are damned no matter what they do.Keep the child she is selfish and doesn't love or want whats best.Place the child in adoption she is selfish and doesn't love and just wants to party.I am on the board of a social organization that includes 4 public and 3 private high schools and these moms are piranhas.I am a chicken and have not told them about me ,I have two more to come through and worry about the repercussion. The schools are excellent in academics.Though I'm considered the liberal since I stand up for these girls.Hope you are 100% correct soon.


    Answer by drfink at 1:55 AM on Oct. 14, 2009