Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The Dark Side of Domestic Adoption (trying again)

Posted by   + Show Post

 SAWRY. technical "issues" the Gremlins were at it again......I had to delete the first post (and all your replies poofed too in the process) just to get to this one. Okay, so now...

Thoughts?

 

US: The dark, sad side of domestic adoption
The Atlantic - April 30, 2013
One family's long quest to adopt a baby.
http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/the-dark-sad-side-of-domestic-adoption/275370/

When we decided to adopt, ceasing the fertility treatments and relinquishing our genetic link to our offspring, we thought the decision was altruistic. At the very least, we assumed there was an adoption system in place that works, and that we could move from the notional if we get a child—the gamble of science—to the unshakable when.

We decided on domestic adoption for several reasons. International adoption was volatile, as it remains. Guatemala closed to Americans in 2009, right around the time we went to the International Adoption Training session at an agency in Manhattan. My husband is half Spanish, a native Spanish speaker who's lived in South America, and so Guatemala had seemed like the perfect plan. A true connection, and one, we thought, we could pass on to our child. For me? There was Russia, which speaks to my ancestry, but that country seemed ominous. The orphanages were questionable; children were placed first locally, then nationally, and it was only then, when they were often several years old, that Americans could adopt them. Now there is a ban on United States adoptions in Russia. Ethiopia was also an option, but our connection to the country and its culture was not as distinct.

We were told—by caseworkers, agencies, friends who had adopted—that domestic adoption was the answer. And my reading told me there were many advantages to it. We could have a child from birth. Perhaps we would be in the delivery room. The adoption would be open—the birthmother and perhaps father would know us to whatever degree we all decided on, and they would know their biological child as she grew. 55 percent of all domestic adoptions are open, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, but at first this notion terrified me. Would this birthmother one day want her child back? Would she come for him? How large a part of our family would she be?

Ultimately my husband and I realized that the approach to adoption should be about what is best for the child. If the children know their birthmothers, they don't grow up with the fantasy of who their parents were or might have been. They do not have to make the life- altering decision in adulthood to try to find their birthparents or to forever forgo the idea. And so my spouse and I came to believe that the transparency of open adoption was best for everyone, not least of all the birthmother, who needs and deserves a way to handle her grief. Open adoption is about choice. Those seeking to adopt may choose the race they're prepared to parent, and the amount of drug and alcohol use they find acceptable during the pregnancy. They may decide what level of mental illness they are comfortable with in the birth mother's history. And they may decide as well if they are prepared for—or desire—a child with special needs.

When we got comfortable with the concept—open—I had to try to understand where my "motherness," who I would be as a parent, fit. We were told by adoption agencies and lawyers that couples, once they wrote their profiles and letters to birthmothers and posted them online, or placed ads in the "penny savers" in the baby-making parts of the country, were matched with birthmothers within three months. The Academy of American Adoption Attorneys claims that that 33 percent of waiting couples are successfully matched with a birthmother within three months, and more than half are matched in less than six months. With certainly, we were told, we would be matched within the year.

Matched, as we know from the dating world alone, is a coded word. My spouse and I were matched with birthmothers not once, not twice, not three times, but a total of five times. The most horrible things kept happening: Birthmothers and those posing as birthmothers, birthfathers and those posing as birthfathers lied to us. Birthmothers are doing a very selfless and generous thing when they decide they are unable to parent and place their child with wanting parents. It is a decision made out of big, big love for that child. Adoption, when it is successful, is a wonderful thing. But everyone coming to it is grieving in some way. It would be wrong not to acknowledge this. We have been lied to by birthmothers who wanted money, and who, when I look at the situation in the harsh light of hindsight, wanted the control and love they had so little of in their lives. More than one of the women who chose us may not have been pregnant; it would be wrong to call them birthmothers.

But some were decidedly pregnant. We were matched with a woman we'd had long meals with, whose family we'd met, and to whom I'd talked nightly until she went into labor. From that day forward, we never heard from her—ever—again. In another situation, I spoke once with a birthmother who the next day went into labor two months early. Despite the risk, we flew across the country for this child, who, it turned out, had Down Syndrome. As open as my husband and I were to adopting a baby of a different race and as open as we became to adopting from a mother with a history of drug use, this is the one choice we were not open to. And so we did not take the child. We were told there was another family waiting, and we were trying to do the right thing for this baby. But I won't be able to forget the moment when we left the hospital without her.

The piece de resistance of our adoption experience, however, was when, last April, I was in the delivery room—and cut the umbilical cord—of a child whose biological mother we had supported and gotten to know well. This child was subsequently with us for several weeks. We named him. We were in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, due to interstate laws, which decreed we had to stay in the state until the legal paperwork was completed. There were goats and chickens, a stream running through the backyard. And it was spring. Everything was waking.

We had been told that the birthfather was one of two people: either the birthmother's abusive Caucasian boyfriend or a Hispanic man with whom the birthmother had mentioned having had a brief affair.

When the baby was delivered, we were delighted he was half-Mexican for many reasons, not least that it meant the baby's father was not the boyfriend. We believed that if the baby had been his, they might have kept him. We were told the birthfather lived in Mexico and had no desire to deal with any of this.

You can see where this is going. My sister was visiting, breastfeeding her newborn as I bottle-fed ours, when we got a call. My husband spoke to him in Spanish, and just from his gestures, the desperation in his voice, I knew it was over. The birthfather was in the next town over and apparently he had been supporting the birthmother and his unborn child through the entire pregnancy. The birthfather wanted his son.

Later we would find out that our presence in this baby's life was a way for the birthmother to get away from her abusive boyfriend and to reunite with the man she loved. We had been cast to keep the baby—and the baby's mother—safe from harm. And yet last we heard he was in foster care. What happened to that child will always haunt us.

Every adoption story begins with the story of someone breaking someone else's heart. Whose heart was not broken here? There are no laws to protect prospective adoptive parents. No one is held accountable, and nothing is federated. State to state, the laws change in regards to how long a birthmother has to relinquish her rights and how long she has to revoke them, as well as how much she can be compensated for a gift so precious it cannot be priced. But for the prospective adoptive parents, it is all a "legal risk." Few will dispute that a birthmother has every right to change her mind. It is a chance we take, and anyone would be foolish or ethically irresponsible to think it should be otherwise. But when there is deceit, and when the adoption fails because of it, hope is lost, and so is most of the money that has been, for most, painstakingly set aside. The bills increase and still you hope. Still you pay.

We have been told that once we brought a baby home our negative experiences would fade. And sure enough, a few weeks ago, my husband and I brought a baby home to stay. The story of how he got to us is not perfect or without drama, but it is over. Our experiences have in fact begun to recede as we turn now, joyfully, to the rhythm of a newborn's needs. I am grateful; I am humbled, but I will always be haunted.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart. Now we are four years older than when we started, and significantly poorer. I look at my son—a word I am scared to utter—and I still wonder not if, but when, he will be taken. I am so careful. I don't post many pictures on social networking sights. I don't take him outside without considerable concern as well as a terrible self-consciousness that comes from having wanted something for so long and finally having it, but also an acute and troubling awareness that the woman just next to me might be wanting too. It is my wish, really, that no one else be hurt here.

by on May. 2, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Replies (21-30):
quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:31 PM

My friends adopted from China for $10k plus travel and waited about 18 months.  But what I meant about adopting internationally costing less is that you aren't spending money, not getting a baby, spending more money, not getting a baby again, etc.  A lot of adoptive parents want to make sure the birth mother is taken care of so they buy her maternity clothes she may not be able to otherwise afford, medical care, and sometimes a monthly stipend for living expenses.  But if she pulls out, this is all "gifts" and they are just out all that money they spent in good faith and they start all over.


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 International adoption is no cheaper (er, less expensive) than DIA. Adopting parents should plan to budget up to $60,000 (taking into consideration travel costs, living expenses, legal fees, etc....). Plus the wait time for a healthy child from China is between 6-9 years. 

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My step sister adopted out of the foster system, but it was very smooth since the kids were technically family and they were older.  Our adoption laws here are not good.  I know a family adopting a baby girl from China because it is so much easier and less expensive.  They don't need to have a white baby, they just want to know they aren't spending a ton of money (that they have worked hard and saved for) on legal stuff and no guarantee the baby won't be taken from them later.  They have older children and might have gone the domestic route if this was their first child, but they didn't want to have to explain to their 6 and 4 year old why their baby sister is suddenly gone.

 



Bethsunshine
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Very powerful story!! I have never adopted, but I have several friends who have adopted. All of their situations are different: some adopted from foster care,some adopted special needs children from foster care,some adopted internationally, some adopted domestically and got the baby as a newborn. Each situation had its own set of challenges. It makes me crazy when I hear people tell infertile couples, "Just adopt" as if you can go to Walmart and pick a baby off the shelf and take it home. Adoption comes with a whole other set of ups and downs, no matter which route you choose. I would imagine that in some ways, it's even more difficult than having a biological child. When you get pregnant, you know the baby will be yours forever; you don't have to worry that the government will cut off the pregnancy before you give birth, or that someone will change their mind at the last minute or any number of things. I have so much respect for anyone who adopts a child.

PhoenixV
by New Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I think the original writer meant after four years of trying to adopt...


Quoting MelanieJK:

Why would you still be concerned that he might be taken after 4 years?    



Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM

 When did your freinds receive the placement of their child from China? This must have been years ago. There is NO adoption from China that takes only 18 months for $10K. The placmeent fee alone is over that amount. ( for at least the past 5+ years).

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My friends adopted from China for $10k plus travel and waited about 18 months.  But what I meant about adopting internationally costing less is that you aren't spending money, not getting a baby, spending more money, not getting a baby again, etc.  A lot of adoptive parents want to make sure the birth mother is taken care of so they buy her maternity clothes she may not be able to otherwise afford, medical care, and sometimes a monthly stipend for living expenses.  But if she pulls out, this is all "gifts" and they are just out all that money they spent in good faith and they start all over.

 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 International adoption is no cheaper (er, less expensive) than DIA. Adopting parents should plan to budget up to $60,000 (taking into consideration travel costs, living expenses, legal fees, etc....). Plus the wait time for a healthy child from China is between 6-9 years. 

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My step sister adopted out of the foster system, but it was very smooth since the kids were technically family and they were older.  Our adoption laws here are not good.  I know a family adopting a baby girl from China because it is so much easier and less expensive.  They don't need to have a white baby, they just want to know they aren't spending a ton of money (that they have worked hard and saved for) on legal stuff and no guarantee the baby won't be taken from them later.  They have older children and might have gone the domestic route if this was their first child, but they didn't want to have to explain to their 6 and 4 year old why their baby sister is suddenly gone.

 

 

 

 

quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I don't think it's fair to judge someone for wanting an infant.  Many families have older biological children and want to adopt.  Psychologists say not to adopt out of birth order for the sake of the older kids.  That is a big reason my friends are adopting from China.  They have 2 older boys and wanted a guaranteed girl, which are unwanted in China.  She won't be a newborn when they get her but she'll still be very young.  

Our foster system in the US is pretty messed up.  My step sister and her husband wanted to foster and adopt his sister's kids who were taken from her for being a crack whore.  They tried for years to get the kids.  The kids were bounced around in foster homes and with their bio mom until they were 6 and 8.  By the time the crack whore's rights were terminated (because the state gave her umpteen chances to get her shit together), the kids had issues.  They had been abused, neglected, seen their mother fucking random dudes, seen their mother doing drugs, it's awful.  They have attachment and abandonment disorders.  That's a lot for a first time parent to take on.  I might try to foster and adopt a child when my son is older and I'm finished with my degree.  Personally, I don't really care for babies and toddlers and want to avoid that whole scenario lol.  But as someone who has already dealt with a child, I feel that I might better recognize what is typical and what is not, and how to handle certain things better.


Quoting momtoscott:

I know.  As the parent of a SN child, though, that rubbed me the wrong way.  It's one of my personal hot buttons.  I was already a little unhappy with the author for insisting on getting an infant.    

I teach piano and some of my students are SN.  A couple of weeks ago the mom of two sisters took the lesson night off; they were celebrating the one-year anniversary of their adoption--the girls are 6 and 8, one is SN, and they are the most adorable creatures you could imagine.  It is a real shame that they were waiting for a home and family as long as they did, although they did luck out and get a great mom, while people who want to adopt hold out for infants without visible flaws.  JMO.   

I understand that this was a long, expensive, and emotionally difficult process for the writer of the article.   

Quoting quickbooksworm:

1) It takes a special person to be a special needs parent.  Personally, I couldn't parent a child with DS, I lack the patience.  A good person won't get in over their head out of a false sense of obligation.

2) When you are pregnant, you still have the option of having a DS baby.  You can abort.  

3) They had no notice this baby had DS.  Parents who know their babies are going to be born with DS have months to prepare for their support system and do all of the research about raising a DS baby.  


Quoting momtoscott:

Nobody but me lost quite a bit of sympathy for her when she rejected the Down syndrome baby?  






JCB911
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:48 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting JCB911:

I have a high school/FB that just went through this.  She and her husband came up to our state for the birth, had the baby just a few days and the birthmother changed her mind. This was just a few weeks ago and I can't imagine how hard it was to return to their home state without their child.

 Nope. The mom did not change her mind, she chose to parent. Her baby, her choice; although I can fully appreciate the sense of loss for the prospective adopting couple. That baby though was never 'their child."

I will respectfully disagree. Yes she changed her mind. SHe was choosing not parent the baby and chose not to for a few days and then changed her mind an chose to parent. I can't imagine how difficult giving a child up is, but choosing to and then not choosing to IS changing their mind.

The baby may not have legally been their child, but for a few days she was.  And I'm sure she will always be "their child" in their hearts.

Why does adoption cost so much, in this country or in other countries?  Is it just paper work and lawyer's fees?  And does it take this long just because people are holding out for newborns? 

I have just a few friends who have adopted - one from Guatemala - they are trying to adopt a 2nd, but it's been 6 years (the 2nd one, not from Guatamala though), Another has two children from China, One foster two boys from birth and just recently was able to legally adopt them (sounds like the birth parents have a couple years to step up to the plate?), and the other adopted a child who was dropped off at a fire station.   Still not sure why birth parents have so long to change their minds, or why it's so expensive. Are there not an abundance of children out there in need of homes - or do prospective parents only want babies?

CafeMom Tickers

quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:48 PM

They applied about 18 months ago and got word 2 months ago that they have a baby.  They pick her up next month.


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 When did your freinds receive the placement of their child from China? This must have been years ago. There is NO adoption from China that takes only 18 months for $10K. The placmeent fee alone is over that amount. ( for at least the past 5+ years).

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My friends adopted from China for $10k plus travel and waited about 18 months.  But what I meant about adopting internationally costing less is that you aren't spending money, not getting a baby, spending more money, not getting a baby again, etc.  A lot of adoptive parents want to make sure the birth mother is taken care of so they buy her maternity clothes she may not be able to otherwise afford, medical care, and sometimes a monthly stipend for living expenses.  But if she pulls out, this is all "gifts" and they are just out all that money they spent in good faith and they start all over.


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 International adoption is no cheaper (er, less expensive) than DIA. Adopting parents should plan to budget up to $60,000 (taking into consideration travel costs, living expenses, legal fees, etc....). Plus the wait time for a healthy child from China is between 6-9 years. 

Quoting quickbooksworm:

My step sister adopted out of the foster system, but it was very smooth since the kids were technically family and they were older.  Our adoption laws here are not good.  I know a family adopting a baby girl from China because it is so much easier and less expensive.  They don't need to have a white baby, they just want to know they aren't spending a ton of money (that they have worked hard and saved for) on legal stuff and no guarantee the baby won't be taken from them later.  They have older children and might have gone the domestic route if this was their first child, but they didn't want to have to explain to their 6 and 4 year old why their baby sister is suddenly gone.

 



 



momtoscott
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:52 PM

I am fine with your thinking my judgment of the writer is unfair.  My emotional reaction to her story, once she walks away from the infant with DS, is certainly not going to be everyone's, and is certainly colored by my own experience as a SN parent.  

Quoting quickbooksworm:

I don't think it's fair to judge someone for wanting an infant.  Many families have older biological children and want to adopt.  Psychologists say not to adopt out of birth order for the sake of the older kids.  That is a big reason my friends are adopting from China.  They have 2 older boys and wanted a guaranteed girl, which are unwanted in China.  She won't be a newborn when they get her but she'll still be very young.  

Our foster system in the US is pretty messed up.  My step sister and her husband wanted to foster and adopt his sister's kids who were taken from her for being a crack whore.  They tried for years to get the kids.  The kids were bounced around in foster homes and with their bio mom until they were 6 and 8.  By the time the crack whore's rights were terminated (because the state gave her umpteen chances to get her shit together), the kids had issues.  They had been abused, neglected, seen their mother fucking random dudes, seen their mother doing drugs, it's awful.  They have attachment and abandonment disorders.  That's a lot for a first time parent to take on.  I might try to foster and adopt a child when my son is older and I'm finished with my degree.  Personally, I don't really care for babies and toddlers and want to avoid that whole scenario lol.  But as someone who has already dealt with a child, I feel that I might better recognize what is typical and what is not, and how to handle certain things better.


Quoting momtoscott:

I know.  As the parent of a SN child, though, that rubbed me the wrong way.  It's one of my personal hot buttons.  I was already a little unhappy with the author for insisting on getting an infant.    

I teach piano and some of my students are SN.  A couple of weeks ago the mom of two sisters took the lesson night off; they were celebrating the one-year anniversary of their adoption--the girls are 6 and 8, one is SN, and they are the most adorable creatures you could imagine.  It is a real shame that they were waiting for a home and family as long as they did, although they did luck out and get a great mom, while people who want to adopt hold out for infants without visible flaws.  JMO.   

I understand that this was a long, expensive, and emotionally difficult process for the writer of the article.   

Quoting quickbooksworm:

1) It takes a special person to be a special needs parent.  Personally, I couldn't parent a child with DS, I lack the patience.  A good person won't get in over their head out of a false sense of obligation.

2) When you are pregnant, you still have the option of having a DS baby.  You can abort.  

3) They had no notice this baby had DS.  Parents who know their babies are going to be born with DS have months to prepare for their support system and do all of the research about raising a DS baby.  


Quoting momtoscott:

Nobody but me lost quite a bit of sympathy for her when she rejected the Down syndrome baby?  







JCB911
by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I agree with you that that part of the story decreased my sympathy to the writer. But I see the other's poster's point that it is something parents shoudl be "ready" for - and they weren't.  Plus the author says there was another couple who was willing to take the child. So the child didn't miss out b/c the author wanted their own idea of "perfect".

Quoting momtoscott:

I am fine with your thinking my judgment of the writer is unfair.  My emotional reaction to her story, once she walks away from the infant with DS, is certainly not going to be everyone's, and is certainly colored by my own experience as a SN parent.  

Quoting quickbooksworm:

I don't think it's fair to judge someone for wanting an infant.  Many families have older biological children and want to adopt.  Psychologists say not to adopt out of birth order for the sake of the older kids.  That is a big reason my friends are adopting from China.  They have 2 older boys and wanted a guaranteed girl, which are unwanted in China.  She won't be a newborn when they get her but she'll still be very young.  

Our foster system in the US is pretty messed up.  My step sister and her husband wanted to foster and adopt his sister's kids who were taken from her for being a crack whore.  They tried for years to get the kids.  The kids were bounced around in foster homes and with their bio mom until they were 6 and 8.  By the time the crack whore's rights were terminated (because the state gave her umpteen chances to get her shit together), the kids had issues.  They had been abused, neglected, seen their mother fucking random dudes, seen their mother doing drugs, it's awful.  They have attachment and abandonment disorders.  That's a lot for a first time parent to take on.  I might try to foster and adopt a child when my son is older and I'm finished with my degree.  Personally, I don't really care for babies and toddlers and want to avoid that whole scenario lol.  But as someone who has already dealt with a child, I feel that I might better recognize what is typical and what is not, and how to handle certain things better.


Quoting momtoscott:

I know.  As the parent of a SN child, though, that rubbed me the wrong way.  It's one of my personal hot buttons.  I was already a little unhappy with the author for insisting on getting an infant.    

I teach piano and some of my students are SN.  A couple of weeks ago the mom of two sisters took the lesson night off; they were celebrating the one-year anniversary of their adoption--the girls are 6 and 8, one is SN, and they are the most adorable creatures you could imagine.  It is a real shame that they were waiting for a home and family as long as they did, although they did luck out and get a great mom, while people who want to adopt hold out for infants without visible flaws.  JMO.   

I understand that this was a long, expensive, and emotionally difficult process for the writer of the article.   

Quoting quickbooksworm:

1) It takes a special person to be a special needs parent.  Personally, I couldn't parent a child with DS, I lack the patience.  A good person won't get in over their head out of a false sense of obligation.

2) When you are pregnant, you still have the option of having a DS baby.  You can abort.  

3) They had no notice this baby had DS.  Parents who know their babies are going to be born with DS have months to prepare for their support system and do all of the research about raising a DS baby.  


Quoting momtoscott:

Nobody but me lost quite a bit of sympathy for her when she rejected the Down syndrome baby?  








CafeMom Tickers

tansyflower
by on May. 2, 2013 at 4:59 PM

yeah i have to admit that part was very sad. 

Quoting momtoscott:

Nobody but me lost quite a bit of sympathy for her when she rejected the Down syndrome baby?  


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)