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This is from  I think the most important thing about this article is that it defines what coercion is, and lists 8 points that are necessary for a surrender to NOT be coerced.

Adoption Coercion: Taking Away a Mother’s Right to Make a Decision

What is Adoption Coercion?

Adoption coercion is any form of overt or covert pressure, manipulation, convincing, force, fraud, human rights violation, or withholding of resources that results in a woman surrendering a baby for adoption.

Adoption coercion includes any practice specifically designed  to ensure or significantly increase the odds that a mother will surrender her baby for adoption. It also includes any practice designed to restrict or remove  freedom of choice by the use of influence, persuasion, fraud, or duress. A coerced ‘choice’ is not a ‘choice’  – there is no “decision” where there is coercion.

Perpetrators of adoption coercion  include anyone in a position of trust, authority, or relative power in relation to the mother. Examples are: adoption industry employees, hospital staff, medical professionals, prospective adopters, social workers, government social policy makers, family members, clergy and nuns, maternity home staff, etc.

Why is Coercion Used?

Coercion is used to deliberately eliminate informed choice for mothers.  This is not for the benefit of a mother or her baby, but because others want to separate her from her baby for adoption purposes.

The Risks to Mothers from Adoption Coercion

When a mother has been coerced into surrendering her baby for adoption, she is at high risk for multiple lifelong repercussions. These consequences can include severe unresolved grief, clinical depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), relationship and parenting difficulties, self-esteem issues, and physical health complications resulting from stress. She may feel exploited and used – especially if she realizes later how she wanted to keep her baby and how she was manipulated or forced to surrender. Her baby might grow up feeling unwanted, rejected, “given away,” or “not good enough to keep.” .  It may be difficult to explain to a surrendered child why she kept her other children but not this one. Subsequent children may fear that their mother will give them away also.

The Effect of Coercion

Coercion renders a mother unable to make a freely-made decision. When coercion is applied, the mother has not made a decision because there is no freedom of choice. She has not “placed” or “given up” her baby for adoption. Her baby has been taken by others who manipulated her  to produce the result they wanted.

The Importance of Informed Consent

Informed consent is also necessary in order for a surrender to be free from coercion. Informed consent to adoption can only be given once the mother has recovered from childbirth (usually considered a minimum of six weeks). This is to ensure the following three necessary prerequisites to informed consent: (1) Pregnancy and birthing hormones have returned to pre-pregnancy levels , (2) Any resulting post-partum depression has been diagnosed and  treated,  and (3) The mother has had significant bonding time with her baby in an environment free from coercive elements.

When is There Truly an “Adoption Decision”

Terminating a mother’s parental rights results in her baby becoming a “legal orphan” available for adoption. A decision of this magnitude can only be  made in the absence of coercion and with informed consent

Following are the necessary prerequisites which must be present in order for a mother to be able to make a decision for adoption. If any of these prerequisites are lacking, then the mother cannot make this decision and inquires should be made as to who in her life stands to benefit from her surrendering her baby for adoption and has worked towards this end.

  1.  The mother must have recovered from childbirth and have had access to her child in order to get to know her baby as a person, her son or daughter.
  2. The mother must have had the opportunity to engage in a mother-child relationship with her child, with adequate support and mentoring.
  3. The mother must be screened and treated for any possible postpartum depression or other health issues which may influence her surrender decision.
  4. The mother must be fully informed of the risk of lifelong emotional consequences to herself and her baby.
  5. The mother must be instructed on the realities of the legal institution of adoption: Filiation will be severed and she will no longer be legally related to her child. Open adoption agreements are not legally binding and she may never see her child again.  An amended birth record will be issued stating that the adoptive parents gave birth to her child. Depending on the jurisdiction, her child may never be able to obtain a copy of his/her original birth record or learn about the natural parents
  6. There must be no financial coercion, either in the form of (1) poverty, financial insecurity, or lack of resources, or (2) having fallen prey to entrapment practices such as having received gifts or money during her pregnancy with the expectation of handing over her baby in exchange.
  7. There must be no pre-birth matching or prior contact with (and thus influence from ) prospective adoptive parents. This is because of the high risk of emotional coercion resulting from this contact (e.g., fear of hurting or disappointing them by keeping her baby, feeling they deserve her baby more than she does, bonding with them due to high oxytocin levels during pregnancy and birth, etc.).
  8. There must be no contact or influence during her pregnancy or before recovery from any person or agency who will benefit financially or otherwise by her baby being placed for adoption

Only when all these elements are in place can a woman truly make a decision regarding adoption.  If she decides for adoption with fully informed consent, free of coercion, only then should substitute care be considered. This could include kinship care, permanent legal guardianship, or adoption by unrelated strangers.

Copyright  © 2012  Origins International

by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Replies (11-17):
by Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

And right now this very minute I have to swallow and stuff and move on with my day. I have responcibilities and things that must get done.

by Silver Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM
I am so sorry. My heart breaks for you. Do you mind me asking why you kept it a secret from your other children? Luckily I never thought to do that. My son's birth found me before they turned 18. So I had nothing to explain. I just can't imagine the stress you feel about how to bring him up and tell everyone.

Quoting sadsmile:

I always felt like it forced on me.  From the moment my mom dumped me at a group home and told them what I was there for. It was pushed on me at a young and tender age. I didn't have any option of parenting truly presented to me. I was asked how I would provide and had no answers and was not presented with any possible options for parenting.  I was miserable and fought the counceling and work book exercises. I was passive agressive the whole time. A- parents were chosen ahead of time and letters were given and recieved. Looking back that was emotional blackmail as they were already getting ready for him. Every person who could see my resistance to what they were trying to do pushed harder that this was the right thing to do. They put them through emeotional guilt and blackmail. Stating that this was the best thing for my baby. I had no other real options. I was spooon fed all the "loving and right" answers until I could say them as if they were my own words. They talked about my home and my mother and the difficulty there and how it wouldn't be fair to try and take a baby into that. Looking back my mom was a single mom and had financial difficulties but we lived well for what she had.  There were no real reasons that could not have been worked on. My own mother said she would not let me return home with a child. So I suppose she was the reason. I was not informed that I could seek help anywhere else.  I was never informed that the open adotion could be closed at any time by the A-parents. I sighned the papers as soon as returning to the group home from the Hospital with the baby. With in 30 minutes they had me in a back office across the property. I said I didn't want to sign the papers. I said I didn't want to give him up. They locked the door and said they would call the main house and a social worker would take him into foster care until I could appear in front of a judge and prove I could provide for him and had a parenting plan that was workable. That I would not see him until that time and it would be at least 30 days. I know now they had no right to do that but I was young and alone. They emotionally forced and cooerced me to sign 5 copies of that paper work. I was a minor and did not have a parent with me nor a lawyer that i knew was there to represent me and what i wanted. I never talked with a lawyer.  They kept saying what a great life he was going to have with the chosesn A-parents and asked if I could provide that kind of life.  i was kept at the group home for a week or two. Looking back I had a complete breakdown. I couldn't stop crying. I hated everything. I faked smiles and tried to comply. I was scared I wasn't going to be accepted back home if I didn't act right.  I have fought this deep depression that feels like an elephant sitting on my chest. Like someone has my heart in a vise grip. I have to stuff it down and go on. sometimes it's a tidal wave that washes over me and I can't bearly get out of bed. i have issues with not feeling good enough to be a mom. I am celebrating my 17 wedding anniversary with guess who... birth dad. We have four kids now. It's hard. I somtimes can barely do the basic stuff and other times I am on hyper drive trying to save the world. And none of it is good enough. I hate myelf and think I should never have been allowed to have other children.  But this is all in my head, cause on the outside things are together and it feel like a shell covering a most vial evil that I never want my children to know about. I go from desperation and jumping at every knock on the door that it will be my son. to wishing I could forget about it and wish that it never happened.  i fear the future and what my children will think of us. Mu husband was forced to sign his rights away before the baby was even born.  I exibited symptoms of post partum and PTSD I collapsed alone at home and could barely call my mom and could barely talk on the phone through the pain. I was not seen by a doctor. The group home didn't do a damn thing when my mom called them.  No one helped me learn how to cope.  I have been suicidal throughout the years a few times.  I was never told that he may never be able to get a copy of his original birth certificate. I have thought all these years that he would be able to and be able to easily find us.  I was told I was bad and I did this and now I had to be good and do the right thing.  And this was from a "loving and Christian group home" in the 90's!!!!!  II have so much anger and rage and remorse and pain that I finally have been able to box it and keep going, but I can still see that tidle wave in the distance and I have to keep pushing it away. I had called the group home a few times and asked for copies of my paper work. I have never been talked to respectfully and have been denied that paperwork.  My mom never got a copy of it either.  The whole thing makes me sick. All I can say is God was watching and they will get theirs. But still I ive in this.  If I relapse into depression I will seek help this time. My answreson the PTSD form say I need to seek help. But I am not ready for all of this to come out in front of my children. Life is such a struggle to always do my best and still not feel like that is good enough. I am afraid if my children know how unhealthy I really am, than they will feel like everything I have taught them so far is hollow and false. I wasn't able to have those feelings of security growing up. I can't rob them of what we have been able to provide for them. I feel stuck. I want my son. i want to know him, but I am so afraid of the future.

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by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Quoting sadsmile:

And right now this very minute I have to swallow and stuff and move on with my day. I have responcibilities and things that must get done.

I remember you.
With support - Welcome back to the group here.
by Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Not having any coping skills to deal with it, I can only look back and say that because it was so painfull to talk and think about I tried to ignore it and that it just happened that way. I don't remember ever making a consience desition to be secretive. I thought that if they knew that I would have spent too much energy on it and would have gotten swallowed up in it and not be a good mom.   I needed space from it to find myself. But really all I found was a way to compartmentalize things and stuff it down. Things have never gotten better I just don't deal with it. There has been some relief in that I realized I was lied to. It will get better they said... you will go on and be happy.  When I realized that it never gets better and that the pain never goes away it made me feel a little less broken, at least in that way. I stopped beating myself up for not just getting better.  And being easier on myself has halped me keep it at bay. I know it's there and it's not ever going to go away.   I also don't know what I would say if ever was contacted by the A-parents. The last communication was me still painting a pretty picture and wanting them to think I was happy and adjusted and fine so that one day maybe  they would include me or at least they would make sure to keep their promiss about telling him all about me. How am I going to explain all this to him? How it was all a horrible mistake that I had no power to make right? The only think I keep thinking about it how I need to be a "healthy" person so if he comes we can possibly build a relationship so I can have the oppertunity to have him in my life if he wants that.  This is the gut wrnching truth that people don't talk about with adoption. And it isn't pretty. And it never stops. There is no closure.

by Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Thank you. But I am also terrified, because being here for support means that wave is closer then I thought.

by Silver Member on Apr. 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM
I am so sorry. I hope you can find a good therapist to work with to help you through this. Of course we're here, but someone in real life would be wonderful.

Quoting sadsmile:

Thank you. But I am also terrified, because being here for support means that wave is closer then I thought.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Silver Member on Jun. 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM


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