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  • Should Adoptive Parents Be in the Delivery Room

    Dawn Davenport

    181

    Should Adoptive Parents Be Allowed in Delivery Room

    Is it appropriate for adoptive parents to be present in the delivery room even if the birth mother has given her permission?

    I interviewed Dr. Marcy Axness, an adoption therapist and adult adoptee, several years ago and blogged about it at What Adoptive Parents Needed to Know about the Primal Wound. She had a knack for explaining this complex topic in a way that I, as a non-adopted person, could understand.

    Several years ago she interviewed Nancy Verrier, author of The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. She was looking for an online home for these interviews and asked if Creating a Family was interested. Duh!?!

    We’ve broken the interview into three parts and will post them separately over the next several months. This first part was their discussion about whether it was appropriate for adoptive parents to be in the delivery room.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Is it Appropriate for Adoptive Parents To Be in Delivery Room

    Nancy Verrier:  I certainly don’t believe that the prospective adoptive parents should be [in the delivery room] at the birth. The mother needs to welcome that baby into the world herself, and, if she needs to say good-bye, say good-bye to that baby herself, without anybody else being there.  Of course the doctor or midwife has to be there, but the mother needs time alone with the baby after that, and nobody there to snatch the baby away as soon as it’s born.

    Marcy Axness:  Let me play devil’s advocate here.  What about the woman for whom there is seemingly no ambivalence from the very beginning?  For example, I’ll take a dear friend of mine, who got pregnant when she was twenty-one.  Her mother was dead, she had no close family for support, there was absolutely no possibility that she was going to be able to raise that child, nor did she want to.  She ended up deciding on an abortion.

    But I’m thinking – if she were to have considered adoption – given her circumstances, that it might have been comforting for her at 6 months, 7 months into her pregnancy, to find the people who were going to be the parents for her child, and have that arrangement securely in place.  What about the woman who wants that, whose mind is eased by that, who wants to have the adoptive parents in the delivery room, who wants the baby to go right to those parents?

    NV:  I know that’s what they think they want before the baby’s born.  I’ve talked to a lot of pregnant young women, and they have all kinds of thoughts about this before the baby’s born.  They’re absolutely sure they’re going to relinquish the baby.  They haven’t yet really seen it as a baby, as a real, live baby.  And so many of them do want to have the parents there, but some of them, later, look back on it and are angry about it.  At the time it seems supportive, but afterwards, looking back on it, it seems very coercive.

    What’s the Best Beginning for the Baby

    MA:  Given the fact that adoptions are going to continue to occur, what would you say would be the optimal way to go about it?

    NV: My scenario would be that the baby would spend at least a week with the mother, because there are certain things that have to happen in the brain, in the neurological system, that will not happen if the baby is separated from her at that time.  So I would give her at least a week with that baby, and have her nurse the baby and do everything for that baby, and then make a decision about it.

    She can have known the prospective adoptive parents, but they have to know right from the start that she may or may not give this baby to them, and they have to live with that.  But they’re not at the birth and they don’t even have anything to do with the baby at the beginning of its life.  That’s too confusing for the baby.  I mean, it’s terrifying.  It’s going to be terrifying anyway.  Birth can be a traumatic event in the first place.  To have the very first thing that happens to you after you are born be taken from your mother is just unconscionable and inhuman.

    MA:What if the prospective adoptive parents were there to simply witness the birth, not participate in any way, having already been counseled that they may or may not end up being this baby’s parents?  Any thoughts on that?

    NV: Witnessing is participating.  Remember what physicists have learned – that the observer affects that which is being observed.  No matter if the prospective adoptive parents have been warned that the mother might change her mind, they are still very anticipatory, hopeful that the baby will be theirs.  They may even be hoping that their presence will make a difference.

    Adoption should not take place in the delivery room.  The baby should be allowed to rest upon the mother’s left breast to allow a subsiding of the birth stress hormones to take place.  He should not be rushed away from the mother for any reason, including hospital expediency.  The baby will never need its mother so much as he needs her at the moment after birth when he has traveled that long distance down the birth canal with all its attending sensations, when he is shot out into the wider world of sights and sounds and other stimuli not experienced in the womb, when the sights and sounds of the womb are missing, when the stress hormones which helped him during the birthing process have to be turned off and serotonin maintained, when brain and neurological connections have to be made, and when the heart, eye, and skin contact of the left-breast position automatically stimulates the five senses and helps the infant feel safe in his new environment.  When all this does not happen, the baby goes into shock, which is nature’s way of dealing with trauma.  All adoptive parents are dealing with traumatized babies.

    MA: I think of the sense of responsibility a baby might feel, with these extra people around, anticipating his arrival. Mine was an open adoption like so many today, so my mothers were together in the last couple of months, shopping together and such.  In my own therapy I got in touch with my feelings before my birth, which were that I didn’t want to come out, not just because she was going to give me away, but also because everybody wanted something from me.

    NV:  Yes, exactly.

    MA:  I think that’s the flip side of the coin of what some people think would be a positive thing, of hearing the voices of the adoptive parents and all that.  I mean, it was this overwhelming sense of responsibility, all these voids I was supposed to come in and fill.

    NV:  All that is the expectation on that little baby.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    [Nancy Verrier can be reached at NancyVerrier.com. Marcy Axness, Ph.D., is the author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, has taught prenatal development at the graduate level and has a private practice coaching parents and “pre-parents” around the world. You can find her at marcyaxness.com.]

    So, what do you think? Should adoptive parents be in the delivery room?

    P.S. If you’ve found this blog thought provoking, please share with others using the Share Buttons below (or the old fashioned way–cut and paste).

     
    Image credit: Todd Anderson

    29/07/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 181 Comments


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    181 Responses to Should Adoptive Parents Be in the Delivery Room

    1. jacob macaulay says:

      Excellent suggestions , I was fascinated by the insight . Does anyone know where my company might obtain a blank NY VR-203 document to fill out ?

    2. anonymous says:

      I agree with Dawn, that it is important to listen to the experiences of adoptees, donor-conceived children, and birth mothers.

      But beware…make sure one is distinguish who is an “average” person, and who is involved in a political movement.

      I think it’s important to listen to people. I also think it’s critically important to distinguish between those people who are non-political, average citizens, and those who have political agendas.

      Claudia D’Arcy, for example, posts on this blog. She will be speaking at a conference of the”International Children’s Rights Institute.”

      You might want to know about the agenda of this Institute.

      Their agenda is anti-gay parents, surrogacy, 2rd party reproduction, and adoption.
      It promotes 1 mother, 1 father, a biological and genetic link.

      You can read about the people involved, which include Claudia D’Arcy, Jennifer Lahl, and some names of people against 3rd party reproduction.

      Some individuals involved are anti- any IVF and IUI. It is not yet clear if the organization itself is against all infertility treatment.

      Here’s a quote from the site to give you a taste of the institute’s agenda:

      “I first read about Prof. Robert Lopez’s work on Public Discourse. As a Chinese, my friends and I are all told that the LGBT movement is inevitable, soon or later more and more countries will accept same-sex marriage, the church’s teachings will prove to be outdated, etc, etc….It is thanks to the work of people like Bobby Lopez that Asians realize that many in the West have in fact not faltered in the face of LGBT agenda, and have never bowed to the gods of “marriage equality” and gender ideology.”

      http://internationalchildrensrights.com/

    3. cb says:

      “I guess I still don’t think it’s a good idea to contact an agency — Not unless you’re pretty sure you actually want to relinquish your child.”

      You might like to tell the agencies themselves that. One major problem I have with adoption agencies whose reason for existing is adoption is that they often end up taking on the role of educating re both the options of parenting and adoption. If adoption agencies actually presented the option of adoption as a stand alone concept, eg they said “this is adoption, take it or leave it”, then that would be more honest. However, adoption agencies present adoption by comparing it with parenting – it is “this is why adoption is a better option than parenting”.

      “My family never visited an adoption agency. Why would we? It seems to me it would just cause confusion. Seems to me it’s an unnecessary step unless a woman is actually interested in adoption.”

      You actually make an excellent point.

      What actually happens with a lot of women with unplanned pregnancies is that they may visit a clinic in regards to their actual pregnancy, not necessarily considering adoption at all, and they receive options counselling where the option of adoption is presented in such a way that they are made to believe that if they don’t explore the option of adoption, then they are doing their child a disservice.

      The NCFA has created an “infant adoption training initiative” which is NOT for adoption professionals but for professionals who provide counselling to pregnant women:

      *******
      NCFA has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau as the grantee in Health Region 3 for the Infant Adoption Training Initiative (IATI). IATI provides adoption awareness training for designated staff at public and non-profit entities that provide health and/or counseling services to pregnant women.

      The training curriculum has been updated, improved, and unified across the United States with other national grantees to more effectively meet the needs of today’s health care professionals.

      Part of the problem also is that abortion/parenting/adoption are presented as three competing options whereas the option to continue/not continue with the pregnancy is one choice and, once a woman decides to continue her pregnancy, the option to choose between parenting/adoption is another choice. When presented separately, this also leaves room for pastoral care before embarking on the options of parenting/adoption.

      So, anonymous, one doesn’t have to even visit an adoption agency to be subjected to directive counselling re adoption. The above counselling link I provided was for NON-adoption professionals.

      Now, again, I would feel that the “presenting of adoption as an option” would be more honest if it was presented as a “stand alone concept”. But it isn’t – the counselling program also involves “counselling re the parenting option” and the danger is that the client being counselled via this program may receive their education re BOTH parenting and adoption via a program created by an organisation whose main purpose is to increase adoption (actually their original purpose when created was to make sure adoptions stayed sealed).

      Btw most of us know single mothers who have raised their children in all eras. I did actually have an interesting conversation with two women who were single mothers in the 70s and they even spent time in a mother’s home. One might think they would judge those that relinquished and say “hey I did it, they could have done it”. However, the opposite was true. These two women knew that thy were fortunate to have their parents’ support. The reason they spent time in the mother’s home was so that they were away from “prying eyes” during their pregnancies (they were from small country towns). However, getting to know their fellow residents meant that they understood that these other girls had very little choice – they had absolutely nothing but compassion for them – I think their thoughts were probably “there but for the Grace of God go I”.

      There has always been a twofold aspect to relinquishment – one is lack of resources and the other is emphasising the lack of resources. In the old days, not much emphasis was required as blind Freddy could see how difficult it would be. Even so, what people don’t realise is that organisations before the WWII were starting to help women but when adoption became popular, that assistance was often no longer available. The organisation through which I was adopted was originally set up in the early 40s to help women parent their own children, that help had totally gone out of the window by the 1960s – I doubt that any 1960s bmother would even been aware of why the organisation was started.

    4. cb says:

      “Also-I stand by my disbelief and dislike for the “Family Preservation” agenda, because the supporters of it only care about preserving one kind of family-those that are naturally conceived and born.”

      I believe in Family Preservation. Unfortunately, people don’t always understand what FP actually is. There is either the belief that FP is always about leaving the child in their bfamily even when the child is being abused and is in danger or that FP is reunification only.

      FP is rather more broad than that and is not against adoption – they can in fact co-exist – if a family is not able to be peserved then adoption is often an excellent resource. In fact, many FP proponents prefer adoption over foster care. There is however a process to be followed before an adoption takes places.

      I will attach 3 essays that discuss Family Preservation and, in particular, Intensive Family Preservation Services:

      http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/old_reports/26.pdf

      http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/old_reports/58.pdf

      http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/old_reports/59.pdf

      One of the most successful Intensive Family Preservation Services is the Homebuilders program:

      http://www.institutefamily.org/programs_IFPS.asp

      (I only chose it because it was an in depth description of their program – not because it was Australian)

      Existing adoptive families have been helped by these programs too by the way.

      Here is a site called National Family Preservation Network:

      http://www.nfpn.org/

      Hopefully, after reading the above links, one will see that FP isn’t just about leaving children with their bparents at all costs but is about preserving families. Btw I’m sure there are many people on here who love “Supernanny” with Jo Frost – THAT is a very mini example of what FP, especially ISFP, is about.

      Btw the Malaika’s baby home in Uganda shows that family preservation isn’t anti-adoption – in fact, the founder of the organisation that runs it actually managed to encourage Ugandans to adopt:

      http://www.childsifoundation.org/

      Btw whether the child is returned to their original family or adopted, there is a 3 year follow-up.

    5. I debated at the beginning when one of the first commenters started throwing around the negative stereotyping about either not approving the comments or deleting the put-downs and name calling. I almost always approve comments (can’t actually remember ever not approving) because I think the adoption and infertility world need a place to actually have conversations between diverse groups and between those who don’t agree. Discussion is healthy, especially when we approach it with an open mind. I decided against deleting the name-calling part of the comments b/c I figured they shed light on the commenter (and not in a good way). I’m glad I took that approach b/c as it turns out, the discussion has shown what we probably already knew, the name calling and inability to discuss without resorting to put-downs comes from both sides.

    6. I’d like to explore further the idea of restricting adoption matches to post birth. How does it work in the countries that have this type of requirement. Do women considering adoption feel pressured to quickly choose a family? Have there been any studies on how the children fair in infancy or childhood (thinking of “Bottle-Washer’s” comment on her concern as the foster mom in these situation about attachment.)

    7. debbee says:

      Nothing short of sanctified rape.

    8. I cringe every time I hear someone make generalized statements about the very diverse group of adoptees. That is one of the reasons I struggle with Verrier’s book. I think the concept of the Primal Wound speaks directly to and has a healing effect for some adopted people. I think it rings hollow for others. I have, however, noticed over the years that adopted parents seems to resist the idea of a Primal Wound more instinctively that do many adoptees, which is why I think discussions like this are so necessary for mixed groups of adopted parents, adopted people, and first mothers.

    9. cb says:

      “One final comment on this:
      I have read a number of comments on here about the vulnerability of BOTH parties when it comes to adoption. Couples who are coming to adoption via IF are vulnerable because they have been laid low by their own biology and health issues. The emom is vulnerable because she is facing an unplanned pregnancy. With all of these vulnerabilities running up against each other, I’m not sure if it is wise to leave the fate of a vulnerable child in the hands of anyone on either side of this equation. Both sides are just to vulnerable to be thinking clearly. IMO I believe this is the place for a guardian ad litem to be brought into the picture-someone with loyalties only to the well-being of a particular child. None of the parents in this highly emotional situation (expectant parents, adoptive parents) should be allowed to have the last word on where this child ultimately ends up, because none of them have the capability in their vulnerability to make sound decisions on behalf of the child.”

      AnonymousIF @180, I appreciate your thoughtful post. However, I look at the situation from a slightly different angle. Yes, both sides are vulnerable but this is why they need people to help them become less vulnerable, eg
      1) the vulnerable pregnant mother needs a counsellor that will help her to identify her situaiton and help her to find ways to improve her situation so that by the time her baby is born, she is in a less vulnerable position and thus able to make a decision that is not as compromised as it was before; and
      2) the vulnerable couples suffering from IF who may have moved to adoption and who need their own compassionate counselling re their IF coupled with honest and factual education about what adoption processes involves for all involved and a kind but firm hand to help them prevent their vulnerability from leading them down the wrong paths.

      There are some good agencies and family service organisations that do their best to help both parties and the counsellors at these agencies/organisations do their best to make sure that the expectant parents receive the pastoral care they need to improve their situation enough that they can make the best decision possible at the time of the birth without feeling as compromised as they were at the time of first contact with the organisation. The prosepctive adoptive parents are educated about the adoption process so that they understand that their motive for adoption is different to that of the expectant parents.

      Unfortunately some agencies and facilitators exploit the vulnerability of both the expectant parents and the prospective adoptive parents and the unborn child suffers.

      As for post @179, it seems to be a case of birthparents reacting to your post, your post being a reaction to other birthparent’s posts, those other birthparent posts being a reaction to yet other PAPs/APs posts, these other PAPs/APs posts reacting to further birthparents’ posts and those further bparents reacting to yet more APs/PAPs and on it goes.

      You can keep on going or you can end your part of the chain right here – it is up to you.

    10. Anonymous IF says:

      One final comment on this:
      I have read a number of comments on here about the vulnerability of BOTH parties when it comes to adoption. Couples who are coming to adoption via IF are vulnerable because they have been laid low by their own biology and health issues. The emom is vulnerable because she is facing an unplanned pregnancy. With all of these vulnerabilities running up against each other, I’m not sure if it is wise to leave the fate of a vulnerable child in the hands of anyone on either side of this equation. Both sides are just to vulnerable to be thinking clearly. IMO I believe this is the place for a guardian ad litem to be brought into the picture-someone with loyalties only to the well-being of a particular child. None of the parents in this highly emotional situation (expectant parents, adoptive parents) should be allowed to have the last word on where this child ultimately ends up, because none of them have the capability in their vulnerability to make sound decisions on behalf of the child. If an emom is seriously considering adoption (serious enough to involve PAP’s, anyway) a guardian ad litem should be appointed by the court to follow both potential sets of parents from the moment such a relationship is established to the moment the child is born and subject to a possible relinquishment. Such an unbiased third party would be able to look at everyone’s situation objectively and then decide where the child would best be allowed to grow up. This person would not be working on behalf of any of the potential parents-only on behalf of the child and his/her well being. This GAL would take the whole picture into account (and would even conside pseudo science like the Primal Wound Theory-but only by giving it the weight it deserves in the big picture)and then make a decision for the child as to which home he/she should grow up in. That’s the only way I can see the best interests of a child being truly upheld in decisions such as this.
      And one final word on the primal wound theory….what would the authors of this blog post say about women who have multiple births and how it relates to their theory? Sure, the first baby that comes out would be able to be laid upon the correct breast right away, but he/she wouldn’t be able to stay there for very long-because Mom still has a job to do by pushing out their sibling(s). And what about those siblings? Are they going to suffer from the primal wound unless they too are given access to the correct breast immediately after birth? The average woman only has two breasts-and in your theory only one of them is the correct resting place immediately after birth, so how does a mother ensure that her children via a multiple birth get what they need in light of the circumstances of their birth? Just asking.

    11. Anonymous IF says:

      Have been away for a while, but feel called to comment on this:
      “I believe that one of the reasons why there were so many negative responses on this thread is that they were triggered by comment @2. This is because if commenter @2 had in reality been matched with an emom, then they would have had to have shown the emom a totally different face than they showed on here. NO emom would want to match with someone who felt the way that commenter @2 felt about their hypothetical emom. Sadly, some bmoms have discovered that in fact their child’s own aparents have the feelings towards them as expressed in comment @2 and if they had actually chosen those aparents then they would feel betrayed that the “true” face wasn’t presented to them”.
      If I were an Aparent and were paired with some of the bmoms on here who expressed such derogatory attitudes towards adoption and those who build their families through it (especially those who have no other option but to build their families through it or other alternate means), I would feel betrayed too. Through my research on the internet I have come to see that some (not all) bmoms are more than capable of being prone to the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde change in attitude when it comes to adoption, because they have regrets about choosing it for their child and because they want to have someone to blame for their feelings of doubt. They love the aparents as long as they are caring for them and footing the bill for all of their pregnancy related expenses (if that is actually in effect) but once the baby is born and the adoptive relationship comes into reality, the bmom decides to see the AP’s as nothing more than babysitters who are caring for HER baby. He/she can’t possibly be THEIR baby-they didn’t get pregnant and give birth after all-she did. How can anyone see such attitudes as any less of a betrayal of the adoptive relationship than the ones I put out there in comment @2? If such attiudes from a bmom reared their ugly heads in an adoptive relationship it would cause just as much harm as if they came from AP’s. The comments made by some of the bmoms on here should serve as a cautionary warning for all AP’s when it comes to negotiating the careful dance of adoptive relationships-know who and what you might be dealing with when you invite a emom into your lives and your family building plans-they might turn on you. Most won’t-most will have the maturity necessary to deal with their own feelings, but beware anyway-such attitudes can come out of nowhere. And they are greatly supported by our internet culture. Just be careful.

    12. cb says:

      “The comment was a bit abstract, so I may not understand what you are saying.

      I do think people do things for their own reasons. But people are attracted to ideologies that justify the things they want to do for their own reasons.

      I don’t think everyone interested in adoption reform is a bio-essentialist. I think it’s a small minority. There is a strain of internet discourse that promotes this ideology. My sense is that this is a small population.

      This thread has gotten long, and I apologize for over-posting. Comments are approved once a day, so we simultaneously post, and talk over and past each other. I’m sure there are more interesting topics to discuss. But it may be best to bring the discussion to a conclusion, as this thread has gone on quite long.”

      I agree. I am glad though that you posted this
      particular comment because I think you might be getting to understand that I personally have no ulterior motive for my views, that my views on egg/sperm donation are due to my own experience, not because I wish to hurt another population. So I hope from now on, you can read any posts of mine on here as being from the point of view of someone with a different experience rather than as the views of someone out to hurt you because that has never been my intent.

    13. Anonymous says:

      “Actually, I didn’t think you were a PAP. My assumption was that you are someone suffering from IF who thinks the whole world is against them and I am trying to reassure you that no, we aren’t.”

      I don’t think most of the world has an opinion about me. People are mostly interested in their own lives, families, friends, countries, which isn’t surprising. I’m lucky and in a privileged position when compared to the great majority of the world population.

      “Do you get what I’m trying to say? I’m trying to say – don’t overthink things, people are doing things for their own reasons, not because they hate others.”

      The comment was a bit abstract, so I may not understand what you are saying.

      I do think people do things for their own reasons. But people are attracted to ideologies that justify the things they want to do for their own reasons.

      I don’t think everyone interested in adoption reform is a bio-essentialist. I think it’s a small minority. There is a strain of internet discourse that promotes this ideology. My sense is that this is a small population.

      This thread has gotten long, and I apologize for over-posting. Comments are approved once a day, so we simultaneously post, and talk over and past each other. I’m sure there are more interesting topics to discuss. But it may be best to bring the discussion to a conclusion, as this thread has gone on quite long.

    14. cb says:

      “In the end, anonymous @160 – judging by your conversations on here, I can see that you and your future child are going to have some interesting conversations.”

      “It is disrespectful of you to bring my family into the discussion.”

      By interesting, I meant lively – is that really such an insulting thing to say?

      “Many people do not agree with you. What makes your feelings more special then their feelings?”

      Again, you are not qute getting what I’m saying. My views mean nothing as in themselves. I was merely trying toget across that there is no sinister element to my feelings, i.e. they are not about you but about me. I was just trying to point out that people’s motives aren’t always as sinister as you think.

      In the end, you will believe what you want to believe.
      I do agree that this conversaton is going nowhere. Let’s just ignore each other from now on shall we?

    15. anonymous says:

      I apologize for the repetition in my posts. I should have edited prior to posting.

      On this blog I have seen the phrase “the child’s view” or the “child’s best interest” thrown around causally and without definition.

      It’s not enough to assert xyz is in the “child’s best interest.”

      Commenters should WHY certain situations are in the child’s best interest.

      Don’t treat this as self-evident. It is NOT self-evident to many people.

      It is not enough to say “society has always done it this way.” Or “all children need a mother and a father who are genetically connected.” Or “All families should ideally be formed in this way, because we’ve always done it this way, so it’s the best.”

      I’d like the REASONS for the assertion to be spelled out. Lay out the argument.

      WHY is it better for the child? How does the assertion lead to a happier, healthier child?

      If one can’t present a convincing argument, you can’t expect anyone to take the assertion seriously.

    16. anonymous says:

      “who are thinking about the situation the CHILD’S view. That is why I think it is important to discuss the ethics of te above practices – I know what it is like to never know one’s biological relatives and when I did meet them, I felt complex feelings I didn’t expect to feel (see also my comment @166). For me, it has nothing to do with biosupremacy or bio-essentialism or any such BS, unless you consider me to be a biosupremacist for considering my bio family to now be part of my extended family.”

      I have yet to hear any reason for why CB’s feelings should determine public policy. You see your feelings as something that should determine a world-wide response in public policy.

      You need to explain why your particular experience qualifies you to determine a universal public policy for other people.

      It must be explained why your feelings should determine public policy or ethics.

      You want your feelings to determine public policy for people who live in different nations, cultures, societies. Furthermore, you want your feelings to determine public policy and ethics for those born in a different times, who live in a different historical space.

      You have not explained why your feeling should determine public policy and ethics — yet those who are similarly situation and do not share your feelings are not, for some reason, relevant to the discussion.

      Why are your feelings more valid then those similarly situation, who do not agree with you?

      Many people do not agree with you. What makes your feelings more special then their feelings?

      Furthermore, you wish to determine public policy for these subjects, but you are not similarly situated in critical ways.

      Gestational Surrogacy:

      A child born from gestational surrogacy is genetically related to her legal parents.

      You were not born via gestational surrogacy.

      You need to explain why your feelings, as an adopted person, should determine public policy for gestational surrogacy.

      Donor Conception:

      A child born from donor conception is not similarly situated to adopted children in two critical ways.

      First of all, the child is born into his or her legal family.

      Second, that child is genetically related to one parent.

      You were not born via donor conception.

      You need to clearly explain why your feelings should determine public policy for donor conception.

      Embryo Donation:

      You were not born into your family. Your adopted mother did not gestate you. Your adopted father did not care for your adopted mother while she was pregnant.

      You were not born via embryo donation.

      You need to clearly explain why your feelings should determine public policy for embryo donation.


      How do I know that your feelings are relevant to these situations?

      You are part of a different society, a different country, you were born in a different time, to particular people, and were brought up in a particular way.

      Your experience is that of adoption, and you need to explain why your particular experience is relevant for all people who have been adopted.

      You need to explain why your experience is relevant to all adopted families.

      Then you need to explain, further, how your feelings are determinative and universal, for gestational surrogacy and donor conception.

      Why are your feelings critical for determining public policy and ethics for every nation in the world?

      The burden is on you, to explain why the world should shape itself in response to your feelings.

    17. anonymous says:

      Greg,

      I’ll reevaluate. I may be lumping Claudia D’Arcy in with the others too quickly, and judging too quickly. I have wondered if she is being manipulated by the others for their purposes.

      It was her negative response to the idea of the artificial womb that I was particularly taken aback by.

      This technology will eventually be able to save very early premies we can’t save right now. It’ll be much more healthy then what we’re doing right now in the NICU. That would be the use of the technology. Children born much too young could be saved.

      It shocked me – the extreme negative reaction. No woman would be hurt, and deprived of a child to whom she had given birth. There would be no birth mother sorrow in the case of an artificial womb.

      But the idea of an idealized “maternal” connection appears to be so critical, to her and to her commenters. So important that they can’t appreciate the potential life-saving advantages of the technology over the NICU.

      That shocked me to no end. A lot of things clicked in that moment that I had not previously understood.

      CB wrote:
      “unless you consider me to be a biosupremacist for considering my bio family to now be part of my extended family.”

      CB Wrote:
      “I felt complex feelings I didn’t expect to feel (see also my comment @166).”

      That’s great that you have a large extended family full of biological and non-biological relations. It sounds like a lovely, and loving, support system.

      I don’t think you understand bio-essentialism. Unless you feel like adopted parents cannot be good parents, simply because they are not genetic relations, you’re not a bio-essentialist.

      Of course I believe families can consist of biological and non-biological relations. That is the point of fighting against prejudices such as bio-essentialism: to show that families, and the definition of family, is complicated and not simplistic.

      People have the right to define their own kin. I’m not invested in trying to tell people how to feel about their personal lives.

      It makes me feel happy to see kin networks that are defined through a mix of biological and non-biological relations. I don’t support narrow categories.

      CB Wrote:
      “Umm, what attack on your personal life?”

      This:

      “In the end, anonymous @160 – judging by your conversations on here, I can see that you and your future child are going to have some interesting conversations.”

      It is disrespectful of you to bring my family into the discussion.

      You should not be commenting on my child or judging my parenting skills. It is extremely rude. In this thread I have not mentioned my children or my family. That is an intentional choice.

      I do not talk about my children on the internet. Their lives are private and not something I would ever put on the net, which is public. I do this for their own safety. It’s not appropriate for you to comment on them.

      You should not comment on other people’s minor children if that person has not introduced them into the conversation.

      You should not comment on an individual’s parenting skills, particularly when that is not a topic of the conversation. It is a personal, toxic, and rude to do so.

      In conclusion:

      Things on the internet can get fraught and personal. Those conversations are unproductive.

      We can see in Ferguson, Missouri, how escalation and antagonism by the police can set off a violent reaction. However, when people de-escalate situations, that is the point that people start listen to each other, and move forward together.

      In certain blogs I’ve seen “escalation” on the topics of adoption, infertility, IVF and surrogacy. The name-calling is ridiculous, especially when we consider the likely ages of the commenters. This conduct might be understandable for teenagers, but it’s beyond silly to see it in adults.

      If one group tells another: “You are a selfish person and you are/will hurt your child.” “Or xyz is a selfish act and will hurt your child.”

      That is an aggressive act.

      A better approach would be someone who says, “I feel xyz, is more likely to result in a happier family for these reasons…”

      The second approach is much more likely to be one to which people will listen.

      The antagonistic approach doesn’t result in constructive actions. No one learns anything. No one is informed or enlightened by other attitudes. Instead, people will fight.

      Once fighting starts, it takes a huge effort to de-escalate and put constructive communication back in place.

    18. Greg says:

      “The truth is that many people who have questions about egg/sperm donation and surrogacy are those who are thinking about the situation the CHILD’S view. ”

      I wouldn’t say that is the truth for many people. I do think it’s the truth for some people. I think it’s the truth for someone like yourself. But I think there are a lot of perspectives coming from the bio family elitist position while claiming that they are all about the children. Those people have either been hurt by one of these practices or they have insecurities about their own family.

    19. cb says:

      *You think I am a PAP and have a personal interest in adoption. I do not.*

      Actually, I didn’t think you were a PAP. My assumption was that you are someone suffering from IF who thinks the whole world is against them and I am trying to reassure you that no, we aren’t.

      “We need to be modest about our personal experiences, feelings, and interpretations of the world. Personal interpretation is the truth for that individual.

      But that truth should not be imposed onto others, who are similarly situated, and yet, do not share those experiences or those feelings.”

      The reason I mentioned my personal experience was to point out that any questions I have re egg/sperm donation, anonymity etc is related to my experience NOT because I have anything against those suffering from infertility. I’m just trying to point out that, for the most part, if people have issues with egg/sperm donation etc, it is for their OWN reasons – they are not doing it to spite others.

      Do you get what I’m trying to say? I’m trying to say – don’t overthink things, people are doing things for their own reasons, not because they hate others.

    20. anonymous says:

      “You are dealing a lot in theories and how things should be and how you want them to be.”

      You think I am a PAP and have a personal interest in adoption. I do not.

      You are misreading my comments. I take individuals on their own terms, and do not expect people to fit into narrow categories or boxes.

      I don’t need people to feel a certain way about their parents, their birth, their genetic heritage, pregnancy, gender, sex, sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, ART, surrogacy or adoption.

      I’m perfectly happy for people to feel all sorts of things and have all sorts of diverse opinions about their individual experiences. It makes me happy to see develop their own identities, approaches, and feelings in response to their individual experiences. That is their individual truth.

      “One thing though I have learnt though is that sometimes one ends up having unexpected feelings about things – things one didn’t expect to feel or even want to feel but feel nonetheless. ”

      Of course people have diverse feelings. It is a good thing there is diversity in the world.

      Which is simply my point:

      We need to be modest about our personal experiences, feelings, and interpretations of the world. Personal interpretation is the truth for that individual.

      But that truth should not be imposed onto others, who are similarly situated, and yet, do not share those experiences or those feelings.

    21. cb says:

      “I will not respond further to your attack on my personal life, except to underline that personal negative comments are toxic, unhelpful, and not necessary to discuss the points at hand.”

      Umm, what attack on your personal life?

      “At first I was confused as to why those in the anti-adoption movement were opposed to egg and sperm donation and surrogacy? It seemed counter-intuitive. These practices reduce the demand for infant adoption.

      The bio essentialist agenda slowly became clear. But it confused me? Why would people interested in protecting women from feeling pressure to adopt want to ban these practices, thereby creating more demand pressure on infant adoption?

      I began to see this investment in bio-essentialism.”

      The truth is that many people who have questions about egg/sperm donation and surrogacy are those who are thinking about the situation the CHILD’S view. That is why I think it is important to discuss the ethics of te above practices – I know what it is like to never know one’s biological relatives and when I did meet them, I felt complex feelings I didn’t expect to feel (see also my comment @166). For me, it has nothing to do with biosupremacy or bio-essentialism or any such BS, unless you consider me to be a biosupremacist for considering my bio family to now be part of my extended family.

    22. Greg says:

      anonymous #165, while Claudia is against private domestic infant adoption and paid surrogacy/third party reproduction she isn’t against IVF and other infertility treatments unlike Jennifer Lahl and Alana Newman. She isn’t against non biological parents either unlike Jennifer and Alana. So while Claudia is speaking at the same conference as Ms. Lahl I don’t think it’s fair to say that she is completely aligned with Ms. Lahl’s cause. Honestly I believe Claudia is just using that forum to promote her platform but don’t believe it’s because she fully supports the platform of others speaking at the conference.

      I have major disagreements with some of Claudia’s positions but believe you’re being a little bit unfair to her in this situation.

    23. cb says:

      In the end, anonymous, I do sort of understand where you are coming from.

      You are dealing a lot in theories and how things should be and how you want them to be. Who knows, I might have agreed with you 10-15 years ago.

      One thing though I have learnt though is that sometimes one ends up having unexpected feelings about things – things one didn’t expect to feel or even want to feel but feel nonetheless. They also find that they are not alone in those feelings. They realise that theories go out the window and reality is rather more complex.

      For example when it comes to adoptees in reunion, it can often be a rollercoaster and a lot of the time the rollercoaster is on an emotional level because one has contradictory feels about things all at the same time.

      Now you are right, not every adoptee feels anything, not every emother/bmother feels anything; on the other hand, some adoptees have unexpected feelings and I presume it is the same with emothers/bmothers. Although the adoptees/bmothers who have no sad feelings or feelings of loss may make life easier for others, one can’t always guarantee that outcome so one just has to accept that adoptees/bmothers can be of all types.

      Btw I don’t think there is anything wrong with having an adopted child with feelings – they aren’t people to be feared. In fact, some of the coolest people I know online are fellow adoptees 🙂

    24. anonymous says:

      “It seems to me that we can often be talking at cross-purposes on here – part of the problem is that instead of asking what I might mean by something, you keep making assumptions and getting it wrong. Sometimes we can mean different things.
      In the end, anonymous @160 – judging by your conversations on here, I can see that you and your future child are going to have some interesting conversations.”

      Final comment. I think we’ve reached the end of productive discourse for this thread.

      In the end, I think our views on gender essentialism and bio essentialism are so different as to most likely to be incomprehensible to each other.

      You appear to be misunderstanding my comments, or reading them quite narrowly. I have suggested that the definition of “woman” be widened to incorporate a multitude of responses. In turn, you have mis-read the comments, and assume that I am suggesting that all women feel one way.

      That, in fact, is the opposite of my assertion. I have no interest in insisting that categories of people conform to proscriptive definitions of behaviours or feelings. Instead, I see the multitudes and diversity in peoples and categories, which I see as liberating and beautiful.

      When I first encountered the anti-adoption movement, I thought the members were concerned with the social and economic inequalities and oppression in which many poor women find themselves. I strongly sympathized with that motivation.

      However, I gradually came to see that there is a political impulse in this movement that is quite concerned with bio-conformity. Gender conformity, bio-essentialism, gender essentialism.

      At first I was confused as to why those in the anti-adoption movement were opposed to egg and sperm donation and surrogacy? It seemed counter-intuitive. These practices reduce the demand for infant adoption.

      The bio essentialist agenda slowly became clear. But it confused me? Why would people interested in protecting women from feeling pressure to adopt want to ban these practices, thereby creating more demand pressure on infant adoption?

      I began to see this investment in bio-essentialism.

      Jennifer Lahl, against surrogacy & 3rd Party Reproduction, is a political ally with Claudia D’Arcy. Lahl believes that every child should have a “mother and a father.” The implications for gay parenthood are clear.

      They are involved with a new group that supports this agenda. The “International Children’s Rights Institute.”

      http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/speaking-at-the-international-childrens-rights-institute-inaugural-conference-in-la/

      And today something clicked. Claudia D’Arcy has linked to a story about researchers beginning to develop artificial wombs. This has implications to help children born early in dramatic ways, making the NICU experience something MUCH improved. But the comments showed that not only is D’Arcy opposed to this idea of an artificial womb, so are the commenters. How strange!

      I was shocked. There is no sadness or potential exploitation of a birth mother with an artificial womb. It can save babies born early. Yet they are angry? What?!? Why?

      There is something going on here that is fascinating. It has to do with how they see birth, bio-essentialism, and gender essentialism.

      I am fascinated with this ideology because I do not, myself, understand it. I am considering writing a book on the gay rights movement, and the separation of gender from sex, and genetics from reproduction.

      “In the end, anonymous @160 – judging by your conversations on here, I can see that you and your future child are going to have some interesting conversations.”

      I’ve previously stated I am not adopting. These assertions about a “future adopted child” are…odd. Or are you talking about my biological children?

      In any case, why in the world would one think it was appropriate to make a personal comment about a stranger’s family? About a stranger’s children?

      In any case, it has been most interesting. But with the insertion of these personal comments, we’ve most likely reached the end of productive interaction.

    25. anonymous says:

      “Perhaps where I differ from you is that I do understand that there are all different types of eparents with all different types of motives and that in many cases the situation is complex.”

      You appear to be misreading my comments. I believe you are referring to a comment of mine that was addressing your comments on loss and adoptees, not birth mothers.

      I will not respond further to your attack on my personal life, except to underline that personal negative comments are toxic, unhelpful, and not necessary to discuss the points at hand.

    26. cb says:

      “This. I’ve been reading comments on this blog and increasingly taken aback by the gender essentialism.”

      I’ve never said that all woman are “one way” and “all men are another way”. I’ve certainly never said that all women are maternal.

      In fact, I keep trying to point out what you have pointed out, i.e.:

      “Women are individuals”

      This is why I said above that they should be counselled as individuals and their individual circumstances and desires taken into account.

      Btw I have tried to refer to ePARENTS because often both biological parents are involved in the counselling process. Regardless of the eparent’s sex, they are having a human baby so it is important for them to make a focused decision for that child – that’s not a gender thing.

      I have also tried to point that humans are complex.

      One thing I do want to point out though re this:

      “Not all pregnant women want to be parents. Not all women who give birth want to be parents.

      And that’s OK. Not all women should be required to fit into a single prescriptive, restrictive vision of what a woman ought to be or feel or do.”

      One does need to remember that there are different reasons why people might not want to be parents right then and there – it isn’t always just a case of simply not wanting to parent full stop. That is the point of good counselling – being able to determine and identify the actual situation. Sometimes things are complex – yes, there are those that may plain just not want to parent but there are also those that may have reasons that make parenting an undesirable option. I try to avoid essentialism when it comes to bparents in general – they are all different with different reasons, feelings, circumstances and chose adoption for different reasons.

      You seem to have a rather more simplistic view – you seem to believe that all bparents who have chosen adoption just plain didn’t want to parent, even those who claim they did – you seem to keep wanting to contribute a certain set of attributes to them, which sounds like essentialism to me.

    27. cb says:

      Re loss – I am thinking of loss as the act of losing something rather than a feeling, i.e. one can lose something without feeling a loss.

      It seems to me that we can often be talking at cross-purposes on here – part of the problem is that instead of asking what I might mean by something, you keep making assumptions and getting it wrong. Sometimes we can mean different things.

      In the end, anonymous @160 – judging by your conversations on here, I can see that you and your future child are going to have some interesting conversations.

    28. cb says:

      OK Anonymous @160, let’s get back to basics.

      A woman with an unplanned pregnancy usually has two separate decisions to make – the first is whether to continue or not continue the pregnancy. If she decides to continue thepregnancy, then she makes a decision about her child’s future – whether to parent or not.

      When it comes to that second decision, regardless of whether or not she wants the kid, she is entitled to receive counselling that involves identifying her situation and desires. So if she is the eperson as outlined in your post, then proper counselling will identify those wishes. For example, in the case of fostermamma’s child’s bmother, she said that “he knew based on her circumstances, DD needed to be adopted.” A good counsellor would examine that situation and explore it with the emother – it may be that the circumstances are such that nothing much could be done and in that case, adoption may be the best option. As I have pointed out before, I’m about making sure that the emom makes an uncompromised decision.

      As for all the articles that I quoted above, I was not saying that that happens in every single case, I am pointing out that they do happen. I was also pointing out that the very popular NCFA program is directive in nature and also question the wisdom of an adoption promoting organisation being in charge of providing a counselling program re adoption/parenting. I am merely pointing out that all this information is creating a compromised environment.

      In the end, I am also seeing it from my view as a human person and what I would have appreciated in counselling if I had ever been in the position that I needed counselling for an unplanned pregnancy and my answer is that I would want my counsellors to truly look at my situation. I am not saying anyone shoul be pressured either way – I am saying that the emother as a person has to have her situation properly identified so that she can make a proper decision – if she really doesn’t want to be a mother, then that is something that would be identified by the counsellor – simple as that.

      What I’ve said above takes into account all types of eparents – in the end, what I’m trying to say is that each person needs to be treated as a person. Perhaps where I differ from you is that I do understand that there are all different types of eparents with all different types of motives and that in many cases the situation is complex. Many agencies do provide proper counselling but not all do and that is something that should be addressed.

      In the end, what I’m saying is not much different to Greg @157.

    29. anonymous says:

      “By the way, contrary to “assumptions,” DD’s bmom told me she felt pressured…to parent…”

      This. I’ve been reading comments on this blog and increasingly taken aback by the gender essentialism.

      Women are individuals.

      Pregnancy is not experienced the same way by every woman. And that’s ok. We should accept these differences.

      Not every woman wants to parent. Not every woman wants to be a parent simply because her body is pregnant.

      Pregnancy does NOT effect a magical change in every woman, transforming every single female-type-person into someone who wants to be pregnant.

      And that’s OK. It’s OK not to be “maternal.” It’s All Right. It’s not a flaw in someone’s character. People are individuals. Not everyone wants to be a parent. It’s positive that people have different responses. A woman should NOT be forced to be a parent just because she experiences a pregnancy.

      Not all pregnant women want to be parents. Not all women who give birth want to be parents.

      And that’s OK. Not all women should be required to fit into a single prescriptive, restrictive vision of what a woman ought to be or feel or do.

      “It might be like moving country (something I’ve done a couple of times) – it may be of net benefit but one can acknowledge that there is loss.”

      Loss is not Change.

      Loss can only be defined by an individual. Loss speaks to one’s feelings, values, and one’s interpretation of material circumstances.

      Change is a more objective description of _difference_ as one transitions between situations.

      “In regards to trauma, I prefer to use the word “loss”. A loss does take place whether one feels it or not.”

      This is not every other human’s POV. There’s a lotta humans out there. One might be cautious when speaking for every single human being who has, or will ever, live on this earth.

      People need to be aware that one’s experience, and one’s POV, is not everyone’s POV.

      I’ve noticed projection causes quite a bit of misunderstandings in daily communication.

      It’s common for humans to project one’s individual experience onto others. It’s much harder to absorb the idea that someone else may interpret and experience the world in a alien manner.

    30. Justin says:

      Thank you, foster adopt mama (154)

    31. cb says:

      First of all, there seem to be a few people making assumptions about others making assumptions…

      Anyway, moving on:

      In regards to trauma, I prefer to use the word “loss”. A loss does take place whether one feels it or not.

      What can help APs when thinking of the benefits that their child may have from being adopted is to think of those benefits as NET benefits. This allows one to acknowledge both one’s child’s losses and gains and to accept that they may reside together.

      Remember also that when people are talking about “adoption”, they may be talking about different things – for many, adoption is just the act of being adopted, for others, it includes the whole process (i.e. being relinquished and adopted). It might also include the particular type of adoption, eg whangai vs western adoption. Too often, we can all be talking at cross-purposes.

      So in the end, it may be best to think of adoption as being a life experience like many others – most humans have had life experiences where something may have been of net benefit but wasn’t without loss.

      It might be like moving country (something I’ve done a couple of times) – it may be of net benefit but one can acknowledge that there is loss.

      Also, just an insight into general situation when some people may sound like they are “always talking about negatives”. This seems to happen mostly as a reaction to those who insist there are ONLY positives about something. One might use the country-moving situation as an example of this – the more one demands that others may only love one country, the more people will hold on emotionally to their older country. On the other hand, allowing people to love both countries can conversely help a person to connect more to their new country.

    32. Greg says:

      “Their goal should not be to coerce anyone toward adoption, but neither to fight for the preservation of so-called “natural families”. That decision is the birthmother’s, and they should be neutral about it.”

      Agree Justin. They should be providing the Expectant Mother/Parents with information on all of their option including social assistance and available programs for young parents along with information on adoption. By no means is it an easy decision and based upon their circumstances they decide to place the baby for adoption once it is born. I can’t imagine being in that position and knowing what decision to make. Unless they are leaving the baby in the hospital or on a door step, they are making a brave courageous decision to either parent their child or place it for adoption. Because I don’t believe one decision is more or less brave than another.

    33. AnonAP says:

      glad to hear our agency’s director had such an appropriate quote, cb.

    34. foster adopt mama says:

      Reading some of these comments makes me sad. First, I am married to an adoptee who was adopted at two months…one of the saddest things (for me) is that his parents were not there from the outset and there are no pictures of his first smile, laugh, etc. So to act like having parents at the ready is a bad thing strikes me as odd. (I have read about adoptees who never attached to their adoptive moms and seemingly none of them were adopted at birth.)

      Second, I was present at my oldest DD’s birth…it was unexpected and completely bittersweet..but in the end, I am so glad I experienced it. I wrote my DD a letter the night she was born to tell her how her birth parents loved her and wanted the best for her. To this day, she loves seeing pictures of her birth and the four of us parents together loving on her. (By the way, contrary to “assumptions,” DD’s bmom told me she felt pressured…to parent…she knew we did not have to be there, was encouraged to bring the baby home, had the cradle care option, etc. all of which she declined because she said she knew based on her circumstances, DD needed to be adopted.) Also, even though I saw the birth, DD’s bmom kept her in the room, slept with her, etc. for the hospital stay. I am so glad for that. Third, the claims of universal adoptee trauma is just…strange. My Dh does not feel traumatized by being adopted. My DD’s teacher made a “plaque” for each kid…and DD’s slogan was “always happy.”

      My youngest who was adopted from foster care was abandoned at the hospital, in the NICU for three weeks due to drug use, and when she went home to her foster parents still couldn’t open her eyes. Now THAT may be trauma…and yet…this kid is hilarious and has met all her milestones and is the light of our whole family’s lives. As much as I love her, I KNOW it would have been better for her to be with loving adoptive parents at birth (her birth mother was discouraged from placing in a voluntary adoption situation). So I guess seeing things from many different perspectives has been really informative to me…I am sure others will try to discount it, but eh….maybe it will help someone else.

    35. Greg says:

      “There are ethical ways to raise other people’s offspring. People do it all the time. Be sure that the separation was necessary for the kid’s safety is the first step to knowing the adoptive parenthood is ethical”

      Marilynn,

      There is no such thing as “Adoptive Parenthood”.

    36. anonymous says:

      “The problem is that not every HAP has what it takes to be a good adoptive parent – I’ve come across many wonderful APs online but I’ve also come across some who scare the beejesus out of me. The good news is that with education, HAPs can become good APs. It is because I did have good APs that I am so shocked that today’s APs aren’t all the same as mine – after all, they have so many more resources to help educate them about adoption now.”

      Is your interaction restricted to anonymous internet commenting?

      Are you engaging in face-to- face interaction with adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents at volunteer agencies, adoption workshops, infertility clinics, NGOs, or other arenas?

      Anonymous interactions on the internet are an inferior way to “get to know” people.

      Therapists and medical doctors refuse to diagnosis over the internet. They require an in-person visit.

      There is a reason doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists require in-person meets.

      You can’t accurately diagnosis or discern many things via internet communication.

    37. Justin says:

      Since agency workers have been maligned here as much as hopeful adoptive parents, I wish to write something in their defense as well.

      The facts, as I see them, are thus: The choice of placing a child for adoption is almost always made at a time of crisis. Months and years later, some birthmothers are satisfied with their choice of giving their child to adoption and some birthmothers deeply regret this choice. Social workers are not prophets, so it is impossible for them to know at this time of crisis whether the birthmother will be pleased by her choice or regret it in years to come. The only thing they can do is provide the mother with information, help her make up her mind under the constraints she is in, and assist her and the adoptive parents in the adoption process if that is her choice. Their goal should not be to coerce anyone toward adoption, but neither to fight for the preservation of so-called “natural families”. That decision is the birthmother’s, and they should be neutral about it.

      If an agency worker used coercion or provided inaccurate or false information, but all means she should be criticized. But, as long as the agency worker did her job to the best of her ability, she is blameless, even if the birthmother later on regrets the adoption that was made during crisis.

    38. anonymous says:

      “Wanting to parent her own child because it came from her body is considered a selfish act – some on here may consider her to hold bioelitist views.”

      First of all, any agency who tells a woman this is not hiring competent therapists.

      Second, this is not the definition of bioelitism. People have the right to procreate. As long as a parent meets a minimum standard of care for a child, that parent has the right to custody of that child.

      Bio-elitism is the prejudice that biological families are inherently and always better then non-biologically related families.

      It is the idea, for example, that two gay men cannot be excellent parents to a adopted child, merely because the parents do not share DNA with the child.

    39. anonymous says:

      “What people like Cassi and Claudia have tried to point out is that the choice isn’t necessarily that straightforward. Also, there are different types of choices, eg Hobson’s choice, Morton’s fork etc.”

      CB,

      We have different theories of power. Foucault is a theorist who has influenced the way I see the operation of power.

      I do not agree with your analysis of how power operates.

      If a woman contacts an agency herself, she has some agency in that moment. If a woman is above the age of 18, and if a child is not forcibly removed, she has some agency in that moment. If she sees a personal advantage to relinquishment — not wanting to go on welfare, not wanting to disappoint family members –that woman has some agency in that moment.

      Agency is not the equivalent of unlimited choice. It is the discrete ability to make a small decision in the moment. Power is complicated. One person does not hold all of the power, while another person holds none. A largely disempowered person holds some degree of power at particular times. Power is fluid.

      I find your analysis to be not sufficiently subtle in accounting for the dynamics that appear in social and family situations. We shall have to agree to disagree.

    40. cb says:

      “Personally, I think it should be up to the woman giving birth to decide who’s in the room. Period. The end. Whether it’s an adoption or not. She might not make the wisest choice for herself, and she might end up with regrets, and that’s terrifying because coersion in adoption is beyond reprehensible. But still, nobody else has the right to make that choice for her.”

      That may well be true. However, I do wonder how many women who have been counselled by adoption providers in a truly ethical fashion actually still want the HAPs in the delivery room. To quote the Donaldson Institute Untangling the Web document I linked to above (page 34):

      “Ethical adoption providers also recognize that even women who seem certain about adoption benefit greatly from revisiting that decision with a skilled, supportive counselor after the baby is born. Regier noted that making a plan for a child now in one’s arms may be quite different from making the decision in the abstract. The goal of ethical counseling should be that the mother and her partner are as clear as possible that adoption is the right choice for them. When new parents are allowed to express doubts or even change their minds after the birth, all parties can feel secure that the decision was made deliberately and carefully.”

      I would imagine emoms who had been counselled in such an ethical fashion may be less likely to want the HAPs in the delivery room because they would realise that they need that time alone to revisit their decision.

      Part of the problem is that some HAPs consider that invitation into the delivery room as a sign that the baby is already theirs – this “letter to our birthmom” shows how a HAP can start thinking of the baby as theirs after cutting the cord:

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GaxLteXHsRuQZQswI9c4qyjO85VhpCq9l8DQlZ-WvEE/edit?fb_source=message

    41. cb says:

      Btw I just want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with an adoptee not wanting to know anything about their origins. I’m just pointing out the wisdom of using them as an example of “ideal adopteehood” when counselling women re the option adoption.

      I was reading a blog post by a very popular very pro-adoption birthmother where she was discussing a movie where she said the following:

      “I was always one to say that if the sweet baby boy that I placed for adoption never came to find me, never wanted to build a relationship with me, never had a desire to know me then his parents did their job. That he knows how much he was loved by me and by them and that was enough. What I learned very quickly into this film was that it is not about that. Where you come from is an entire different journey than the love that you received from your family. He is my blood, regardless of the love and blessed life that he lived with his family.”

      First of all, her actual post was very good. Her husband is an adoptee-lite and I think the film and her husband gave her some insight into how her child might feel. However, the thing that struck me was the fact that this bit:

      “I was always one to say that if the sweet baby boy that I placed for adoption never came to find me, never wanted to build a relationship with me, never had a desire to know me then his parents did their job. That he knows how much he was loved by me and by them and that was enough.”

      gave an insight into what she originally felt and it made me wonder whether that had been the message conveyed to her through her adoption process – i.e. a non-curious adoptee is a sign of the APs having done a good job, and whether that is common practice.

    42. cb says:

      “CB,
      Unless social services forcibly removes children from a household, I do not agree that women have no agency in adoption.”

      First of all, you ere using specific examples of agency and I was pointing out why they might be considered “false agency”.

      And, yes, in voluntary adoption, a woman does get to choose whether or not to actually go ahead with the adoption. What people like Cassi and Claudia have tried to point out is that the choice isn’t necessarily that straightforward. Also, there are different types of choices, eg Hobson’s choice, Morton’s fork etc.
      First of all, even in general everyday parenthood, the security of one’s child is often paramount for your average parent. Even your average new parent with everything going for them can be panicked by the thought of becoming a parent but usually we encourage new parents and help them feel secure as parents. Options counselling is often about exploiting that fear.

      The other thing is that “biology” is used against the emother. Wanting to parent her own child because it came from her body is considered a selfish act – some on here may consider her to hold bioelitist views. When she is asked to compare what she can offer a child compared with an adoptive family, she must do so by taking her “self” out of the equation so that she in effect comparing what two strangers can often a random child – of course, she will come off worst, especially when it comes to material things.

      The problem is that not every HAP has what it takes to be a good adoptive parent – I’ve come across many wonderful APs online but I’ve also come across some who scare the beejesus out of me. The good news is that with education, HAPs can become good APs. It is because I did have good APs that I am so shocked that today’s APs aren’t all the same as mine – after all, they have so many more resources to help educate them about adoption now.

      Also, we are still presenting the same 1950s version of what makes an ideal adoptee to eparents. It is sort of bizarre that many agencies who promote OPEN adoption still use the testimonies of closed adoption adoptees who want nothing to do with their bparents as the “ideal”.

    43. Anonymous says:

      Anonymous IF, on August 3rd, 2014 at 6:38 pm Said:
      “Also-I stand by my disbelief and dislike for the “Family Preservation” agenda, because the supporters of it only care about preserving one kind of family-those that are naturally conceived and born.”

      Anonymous IF you KNOW that all human beings are naturally conceived and born. You know that that donors are just regular human beings and that the phrase ‘donor conceived’ means that a donor conceived a person that is their son or daughter, their own biological offspring.

      So what family preservation means is preventing the unnecessary physical and legal separation of an individual from their own biological family. Separation from their biological family may very well be necessary in situations of extreme neglect and abuse and that is where people outside the family may be asked to step in and help raise a minor to adulthood. But when physical separation is necessary legal separation is never necessary, that minor should always remain a legal member of his or her biological family and the negligent or abusive parent can have their rights to contact and control reduced or entirely stricken without erasing them from historical record and replacing them with the names of those caring for them.

      You say that family preservationists don’t care about preserving the kind of families that are not naturally conceived or born, when the idea is to prevent separation from the biological family in the first place. It is perfectly OK and a good thing for people not to be abandoned by their biological parents it’s OK if there are fewer minors in need of care by people outside their own family. You may be looking at this as a supply thing or like adoptive and social parents somehow are conceiving or creating families of their very own but the reality is that they are obtaining minors from biological parents who are opting not to raise their offspring and they should not have that option so easily to farm their kids out to perform the roll of child to another person. It’s not fair to have to live life as someone they are not. We need stricter regulations about the reasons for not raising biological offspring and if their offspring had to be legally recognized as their offspring and a member of their family forever even when they would not be raising them, then maybe they’d be less cavalier about signing donor agreements not to raise them.

      I agree with you that gay marriages don’t threaten straight marriages. I am pro gay marriage myself. I don’t see the correlation to this issue at all. Families are threatened by the things that donors agree to do after their offspring are born, like not raise their offspring like not be named parents of their offspring. That whole family falls apart, a member of the family is separated and looses legal rights as does every member of the family loose rights as well. If donors were treated no different than any other person with offspring then they’d have to consider the fact that they’d be named parent of all their offspring and nobody’s rights would be violated. So people who act as donors agree to things that absolutely compromise the legal rights of their family members. It’s totally reasonable to be against bio parents failing to take care of their offspring. Adoption has aspects to it that also sever the legal rights of the adopted person and all their bio relatives and that part of adoption is not fair. So adoption does threaten the existing family and the idea is to prevent and preserve the person’s legal and physical place in their own family permanently even if someone else raises them.

      A person that can’t have children of their own would have to get one from another family. You can’t get a child from another family without there having been a tragedy because their bio parents are not raising them. So you prevent the tragedy by holding all people with offspring fully accountable eliminating loopholes and titles like donor that exempt them from being recognized as the parents of their own children.

      Does that prevent people from obtaining children to raise from other people’s families? No. It just ensures that all physical separations are necessary in order to serve the safety of the minor and that no separations occur for the sole purpose of providing children to people who wish to create families of their own but can’t. There are no unnatural conceptions. Just healthy people and their offspring being separated as a service to a growing market of individuals who don’t have children to raise.

      There are ethical ways to raise other people’s offspring. People do it all the time. Be sure that the separation was necessary for the kid’s safety is the first step to knowing the adoptive parenthood is ethical

    44. cb says:

      “CB wrote:
      “Certain fictions are required for everyone to believe in a modern western adoption:
      q Adopted persons are the natural child of their adoptive parents, when in fact they are not.
      q Adopted persons have consanguineous blood relationship with adoptive parents, in fact they do not.”

      ??? Gay and lesbian parents have been adopting children for some time now.”

      ????Um, I think you might have not quite got what I was getting at????

      The above was in regards to the legal fictions created by the construct of modern adoption (I clarify in a later post), i.e. the “born to” and “as if born to” concept?

    45. anonymous says:

      CB,

      Unless social services forcibly removes children from a household, I do not agree that women have no agency in adoption.

      CB wrote:
      “Certain fictions are required for everyone to believe in a modern western adoption:
      q Adopted persons are the natural child of their adoptive parents, when in fact they are not.
      q Adopted persons have consanguineous blood relationship with adoptive parents, in fact they do not.”

      ??? Gay and lesbian parents have been adopting children for some time now.

    46. Rebecca Gibson says:

      I was disappointed in the article but the comments definitely lived up to my expectations! I only wish I’d made popcorn first…. But frankly, even the most shallow and hateful comments were more enlightening and challenging to me, than the preposterous assertion that psychogy works the same way as particle physics and that newborns are stressed out by feeling the burden of so much “responsibility.” These people may or may not have a valid point to make about whether it’s emotionally confusing and coercive to have adoptive parents in the delivery room.

      I really couldn’t tell; I was laughing too hard at the image of the baby having a 50% chance of being born as a cat. (Let’s put down the particle physics and back away carefully, people. It’s not a toy.) And to the idea that she has recalled, through therapy, her pre-natal thoughts and feelings… Well, all I can say to that is, “My goodness, how astonishing.”

      Gold star for the commenter above who pointed out that adoptive parents may simply never really comprehend the pain of loss in adoption, just as others may never comprehend the pain of infertility/pregnancy loss. It’s wonderful when people can recognize and accept the grief of others, simply acknowledging that loss is loss and grief is grief.

      Personally, I think it should be up to the woman giving birth to decide who’s in the room. Period. The end. Whether it’s an adoption or not. She might not make the wisest choice for herself, and she might end up with regrets, and that’s terrifying because coersion in adoption is beyond reprehensible. But still, nobody else has the right to make that choice for her.

    47. cb says:

      “People don’t seem to understand what I’m trying to say regarding agency. Someone can be disempowered and still retain control over discrete decisions. That’s a type of limited agency. It’s what I meant by my comment.”

      Yes, people do understand, however, what you are not understanding is that that, in fact, that “limited agency” can be a “false agency”. By giving women the belief that they can control certain things that they actually can’t legally control is in fact a false agency. This feeling of “agency” is “sold” to the emom eg
      1) You get to choose the parents!
      2) You get to choose how open you want your adoption!

      Whereas the truth is as Cassi pointed out is
      1) The emom gets to choose the aparents based on how they present themselves to the emom.
      2) The emom can “choose” how open she wants the adoption before the adoption takes place but legally, even in a state with legally forced adoption contracts, hwever, once the adoption is finalised, the APs can legally do what they like.

      Now many APs will do the right thing but legally they don’t have to.

      Also, one suspects that for some of today’s bmoms who may have had “more agency” that the betrayal is even geater. I believe that one of the reasons why there were so many negative responses on this thread is that they were triggered by comment @2. This is because if commenter @2 had in reality been matched with an emom, then they would have had to have shown the emom a totally different face than they showed on here. NO emom would want to match with someone who felt the way that commenter @2 felt about their hypothetical emom. Sadly, some bmoms have discovered that in fact their child’s own aparents have the feelings towards them as expressed in comment @2 and if they had actually chosen those aparents then they would feel betrayed that the “true” face wasn’t presented to them.

      So in fact, “false agency” can be worse than no agency at all, especially if that agency is sold as part of the “new face” of adoption. The promise of “You get to choose the parents! You get to choose how open you want your adoption!” falls very flat if one chooses aparents that betray that trust.

      Now, I want to make it clear that there are many aparents out there who honour that trust. I also believe that most HAPs probably do go into that match full intening to honour that trust. However, there are those whom after adoption end up not honouring their commitment – often out of fear.

    48. cb says:

      Dawn @137

      With today’s open adoptions,there is more of an acceptace that the child is of two famililes and in the case of Anon AP and Tiffany etc, the fact that their children will know that that their mums are comfortable with the presence of their bfamilies in their life will actually strengthen their bond not weaken it.

      They have discovered the secet that there is a natural bond between a child and the person who is raising them and that the presence and acknowledgement of other bonds not only doesn’t weaken their bond but strengthen it.

      To me, one of the great sadnesses of the post-war western form of adoption is that the psychiatrists and social workers of the that post-war time did not trust in that natural bond and that instead of allowing bonding to happen naturally, they forced it by legally obliterating the original bond, thus creating the legal fictions as mentioned above. Post-war adoption was a way of fixing two “societal problems” at the same time – a) unmarried mothers and b) childless married women – if a)’s baby become’s b)’s baby then voila, no unwed mother (1-1=0), married woman with child (0+1=1), – two birds killed with the one stone. There was great shame on both sides although societal sympathy was mainly with the childless married mothers (as one nurse I know from the time said “”Those poor women, they needed those babies” because to function in society, they *needed* to be mums).

      What people don’t always realise is that the above type of adoption is mainly practised in western society and that other societies often have a different concept of adoption. The original Marshall Islands adoption program was a total disaster because of this misunderstanding as Polynesian adoption is very different to Western adoption. Also, one of the major problems with African adoptions is that they too have a different concept of adoption. Many African people are willing have their child adopted because in their mind, their child is going to live with” rich people in America” so they can be educated etc but they still believe that their children will come back to them when they are adults, they still consider their chil to be theirs. They don’t realise that in fact the “rich people in America” will actually be raising their children as the American’s own child and that their child is no longer the child of the African parent. Of course, legally, it has to happen for the child to be able to be raised by the American parents, however, the “legal fiction” (which it is) can become the “psychological fiction”. I do think some American families are beginning to understand this and I know that some have “opened up” their African adoptions with positive results.

      Now, it is my observation from having been on many forums and read blogs over the last 4 years that the adoption that seem to work best are those where, yes, the adoptive parents are mum and dad but that there is an acknowledgement that the bparents are also special people in the child’s life and where the APs understand that any positive feelings their child about their bparents does not affect their child’s feelings for them in any way. These APs understand that their relationship with their child is not competing with the biological bonds and that acknowledgement of the biological bond in fact strengthens their own bond with their child. This also can work with those of us from closed adoptions when we reunite with bfamily – if our APs show support, our bonds with them strengthen.

      Perhaps it has to do with TRUST. When one trusts one’s child, they will appreciate that trust.

      Now I’d like to say that all of today’s adoptions are like this but the truth is that there is still often a great deal of competition between afamily and bfamily – again one just needs to read forums and blogs to see that many APs still feel that the bfamily has a place and that they must stay there. There is still a lot who believe that the ideal adoptee is one who has banished their bfamily from their psyche. There is still a lot who believe that a searching adoptee is one who is betraying the afamily. There is still a lot of competition between afamily and bfamily and belief the bfamily bond is something to be denied.

      There is still too much of the EITHER/OR, instead of the AND.

      Dawn, hopefully you will see that FAR from disparaging the “adoptive” bond (i.e. the bond between the child and person raising them), I have in fact acknowledged that a natural bond does in fact exist BUT that the legal construct of the post-war western form of adoption represents a lack of TRUST in that bond, i.e. that it neeeded to be FORCED. When one allows that bond to happen naturally side to side with the presence of other bonds, then that “adoptive bond” is often stronger. By FORCING a bond by OBLITERATING the original one, in fact WEAKENS a bond because one can’t always be sue that it is true.

    49. Greg says:

      “There may well be those that feel constant reunification is the key yet reunification isn’t really representative of family preservation ”

      Absolutely, and I don’t think it’s fair that you and others who believe what you do are lumped in with them.

      “As for myself personally, one thing I’ve discovered over the last few years is that when an adult adoptee is allowed to define their OWN relationships, it actually STRENGTHENS their adoptive relationships. However, when others feel the need to TELL me WHOM I should regard as family, then that is when I feel LESS integrated.”

      You should absolutely have the only say in who is what to you in your families. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. While it’s not exactly the same in cases of divorce when one parent remarries and the child develops a strong bond with the step parent the other biological parent may feel threatened and take it out on the kid. I’ve seen it happen and it’s awful to see the child’s loyalty questioned.

    50. Kinga Locklear says:

      In countries where 1. no money exchanges hands in the adoption process 2. parents are provided with independent counseling 3. parents are required to take the baby home and try to parent 4. Both parents are needed for relinquishment in front of a judge THERE ARE ALMOST ZERO TO ZERO NEWBORN RELINQUISHMENTS.
      Which means – without the pressure of pre-birth matching, of which the PAPs’ presence in the delivery room has become a symbol, there would hardly be any relinquishments in this country. The entire practice is barbaric and has to go.

    51. anne waack says:

      Birth is for birth parents. Perspective adopters should not be part of that mix. The mother may have a change of mind and decide to bond with her child after birth and that right should be sacred. When you match pre birth and have the prospective adopters in the delivery room it does not allow that mother the freedom of choice to review her situation and make the best decision for her and her child. There is nothing more sacred then the God given right of a parent to bond with their child. In my opinions there should be no matching for at least 30 days past birth. The God given parents need a chance to fully review their situation prior to agreeing to terminate the rights.

    52. cb says:

      Tao @ 130 – It is good to get a clearer picture of adoption in Canada – 🙂

      I too noted that the tone of Canadian adoption agency websites is far different to US ones – I was very impressed by their straightforward and honest presentation of what services they provide.

    53. cb says:

      Greg @121

      There may well be those that feel constant reunification is the key yet reunification isn’t really representative of family preservation – reunification usually involves separating the family first and then trying to put it back together. FP involves trying to avoid separating the family in the fist place, especially by using.intense family preservation programs like Homebuilders. States that used Homebuilders properly have been shown to have better outcomes than those who remove first and then try to reunify. Having said that, there are obviously times when removal is necessary.

      Also, when it comes to the discussion of adoption, there are those who wonder whether the construct of the 50s style of adoption is really the best we can do when it comes to adoption. There is nothing wrong with people discussing alternatives to this type of adoption – there are many people who have no problems with children being raised with non-related people but who question whether adoption itself is necessary.

      I am someone who never really thought too much about adoption until I decided to reunite with bfamily. When the abstract comes real, one ends up having to sort through many contradicting feelings. The “born to” and “as if born to” worlds collide and one has to integrate them, something that can be an ongoing process. Certain fictions are required for everyone to believe in a modern western adoption:
      (from a previously linked document):
      *Fictional relations in non relative adoptions—
      q Adopted persons are the natural child of their adoptive parents, when in fact they are not.
      q Adopted persons have consanguineous blood relationship with adoptive parents, in fact they do not.
      q For adoptive parents that the adopted child was naturally born to them, when in fact it was not.
      q That adoptive parents have a consanguineous blood relationship with the adopted person when in fact they do not.
      q For birth parents the fiction they never gave birth to the child, when in fact they did.
      q For birth relatives the fiction they have no biological relationship with the adopted person, when in fact they do.*

      With many of today’s more open adoptions, many families are constructing their own version of family, making sure that it is centred around their child. For example, I see APs like anon AP, Tiffany and RobynC having relationships with bfamily that evolve all the time but at all times being what is best for the child.

      As for myself personally, one thing I’ve discovered over the last few years is that when an adult adoptee is allowed to define their OWN relationships, it actually STRENGTHENS their adoptive relationships. However, when others feel the need to TELL me WHOM I should regard as family, then that is when I feel LESS integrated.

      • cb, while I agree with your concluding point, I can’t say I agree at all with the “Certain fictions [that] are required for everyone to believe in a modern western adoption”. Those are not the realities we try to educate adoptive parents on.

    54. cb says:

      Well said, Cassi @125/126

    55. anonymous says:

      “I find it wrong for any adoptive parent or hopeful adoptive parent to claim they know anything about what that is like.”

      I’m not a PAP. I don’t claim to know anything about your experience.

      People don’t seem to understand what I’m trying to say regarding agency. Someone can be disempowered and still retain control over discrete decisions. That’s a type of limited agency. It’s what I meant by my comment.

      16 year olds are in a position of compromised agency. Parents can threaten to kick them out or emotionally black-mail their children.

      “When I was sixteen and pregnant, I went to my school nurse for help and she handed me what I later learned was”

      I am sorry it sounds like your family (or friends?) pressured you to relinquish your child.

      My POV:

      21 years ago one of my relatives got pregnant when she was 15. She was clear she wanted to keep her child. We never talked about adoption. She kept her baby. She signed up for social services. Her parents helped her. Her child is my beloved relative.

      Two of my relative’s friends gave birth when they were 15 and 16 years old. These young women were from low income families. One of them had minimal family support and moved out of the house. I used to visit her and her son in their small apartment.

      It’s now 20 years later and everyone is doing well. My relative’s child is now attending college.

      I am very sorry for your troubles. I am sorry you felt powerless. I understand minors are in compromised positions of agency. I understand some teenagers don’t have agency and are forced into adoption. I understand some people have unsupportive parents and lack family support.

      Some teenagers are forced into arranged marriages. I fully get that teenagers have limited agency.

      I am sorry my statement seems to be causing distress. I don’t mean to be second-guessing people’s choices. I’m lucky I’ve never been in this position.

      I guess I still don’t think it’s a good idea to contact an agency — Not unless you’re pretty sure you actually want to relinquish your child.

      My family never visited an adoption agency. Why would we? It seems to me it would just cause confusion. Seems to me it’s an unnecessary step unless a woman is actually interested in adoption.

      But I’m not the advice police. If someone wants to visit an agency I’m not going to second guess your decision.

      Tao,

      Some US States will uphold open adoption agreements.

      Some Canadian Provinces will allow advertising.

      Vermont is not Alberta.

      Alabama is not BC.

      The main difference between the US and Canada is (1) free health care (2) more social safety nets in some Canadian Provinces (3) gun culture (4) lots more people in the US.

      Quebec is great for social safety nets. Alberta less so.

      Alberta has more social safety nets then Alabama.

      Vermont may be better then Alberta for social safety nets.

      I don’t things are much different between the US and Canada, including adoption.

    56. TAO says:

      Adoption in Canada while it has some resemblences to US adoption, is far different. What is the same as the US is that each Province or Territory has their own laws governing adoption.

      BC has enforced open options where the judge enters an order that makes it enforcable under the Family Law Act. It also has a post-adoption contact registry for requests from members of the family of birth after the adoption. How that plays out I don’t know. It also seems to have very specific in wording that the parents of birth lose their parental rights to the child, but the child still retains their right of property, inheritance, and other rights vested as a child – before the adoption took place. The wording clearly states that the child becomes the child of the adoptive parents an vice versa, but the wording after seems like adoption is adding a family and not severing the child from the family of birth at the same time. Perhaps the best description would be a hybrid version of both Simple Adoption and Plenary Adoption – the best from both if you will. http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96005_01#section3

      In the Provinces that allow private adoption agencies, it appears they are licensed and approved by the Ministry of Children (I think in the States it is through State Licensing rather than the department of family and children???). In BC private agencies (non-profit) must work with an expectant parent to explore all avenues for her child, including the services that can allow the child to not need adoption, this seems to be the case in other Provinces that allow private adoption agencies as well but differences could exist. There are also set guidelines on what the fees can be for, and how much in BC set out by the Ministry, but I don’t know how it works in other areas. Only a couple Provinces allow for advertising and networking. Some smaller Provinces and Territories do not all allow private agencies and Expectant Parents find their own Adoptive Parents and the adoption is done through the Ministry, or they find Adoptive Parents through a waiting list with the Ministry.

      In all Provinces and Territories it appears there is a revocation of consent time frame. The earliest in the larger Provinces a parent can sign consent is in PQ (Que) which does not seem to have a waiting period but 30 days post birth revocation, MB is 2 days + 21 days post consent, ON is 3 days + 21 post consent. The rest are longer with BC at 10 days + 30 post birth.

      The differences above are not the only differences – just perusing adoption agencies websites in Canada compared to the US – the tone is completely different. Take the time and see for yourself, of all the Provinces and Territories – Ontario seems the most like the US, but even there the diffencences can be seen.

      http://www.adoptiveparents.ca/adopt101_main.shtml

      http://adoption.ca/adoption-in-canada

    57. cb says:

      “Uh, no-Bmom also gets the nine months pre-birth. She gets the feeling of the baby moving inside of her, she gets to feel the baby kick, etc etc. This is something that PAP’s/HAP’s/AP’s will NEVER get to have with their future child (if it is in fact to become their future child”

      Btw I wanted to put a different perspective on this comment at @61.

      First of all, I want to totally acknowledge that the above is indeed a great loss and is certainly not one that should be dismissed. Anonymous IF is absolutely entitled to mourn that loss.

      What I might ask her to “hypothetically” do though, is for her to get her “adoption kaleidoscope” out and shake it around and then she might also see another picture.

      She can also look at her observation from another angle:

      “Uh, no-Bmom also gets the nine months pre-birth. She gets the feeling of the baby moving inside of her, she gets to feel the baby kick, etc etc.”

      Imagine having all that and then not being able to raise that baby. The emom has those prebirth memories and nothing after.

      Then she can spin her kaleidoscope again and look at both the observation about herself and bmom together from yet another angle – i.e. the child’s angle:

      “Uh, no-Bmom also gets the nine months pre-birth. She gets the feeling of the baby moving inside of her, she gets to feel the baby kick, etc etc. This is something that PAP’s/HAP’s/AP’s will NEVER get to have with their future child (if it is in fact to become their future child”

      The child will know that their much loved amother didn’t carry them and that will be a loss to them. They will also know that their bmother carried them and didn’t raise them and that will be a loss as well.

      Now before anyone says anything, I get that not every adoptee or bmom feels anything but just because one doesn’t feel a loss doesn’t mean that a loss didn’t happen. (If one wants to read a blog by an adoptee who expresses it well, one can read this (old) blog by Yoons blur: http://yoonsblur.blogspot.com.au/ (she is now also on “lost daughters”))

      Now I don’t say the above to say that one loss is better or worse that each other but merely to point out that often we are all united by loss and we can use our separate losses to help ourselves to try and understand others in the triad.

    58. cb says:

      “I don’t think Canada is much different from the states.”

      There are definitely similarities though as you point out, each province is different. I do believe though that all adoptions must be done through an agency? Also, I don’t believe facilitators are allowed.

      I also get the impression that Canadian agencies might be subject to certain national and/or province regulations re advertising and counselling although I may be wrong.

      If one looks at the “Expectant Mother” pages of PRIVATE Canadian adoption agency websites, they come across as very straightforward and matter of fact:

      http://www.adoptionbychoice.ca/#!how-does-adoption-work/c1b80

      http://www.choicesadoption.ca/expectantparents/birthparents.php

      and compare them to ones like American Adoption:

      http://www.americanadoptions.com/

      In fact, the Canadian “expectant mother” pages could be used by HAPs as guidelines when trying to find a good US agency.

      Of course, we have to remember that the internet provides a lot of “education” re adoption, both good and bad. This is of course a danger in all countries of the world.

      There are many “consider your options” pages that are linked to adoption agencies so it is hardly surprising that certain options come across as more appealing than others.

      The Donaldson Institute put out a paper re the effect the internet (both good and bad) has had on adoption:

      http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/2012_12_UntanglingtheWeb.pdf

    59. Cassi says:

      As a mother who has been there and lived through it, I find it absolutely ridiculous to claim that women only walk in to an agency once they are sure about adoption. When I was sixteen and pregnant, I went to my school nurse for help and she handed me what I later learned was actually a “marketing brochure” from the adoption agency to try and bring in more pregnant mothers facing unexpected pregnancies. I had no way of knowing that at the time and I trusted and believed their claims to “help” me decide what was best for myself and my unborn child.

      Except, just as is so common with so much of adoption counseling, their help centered on making sure I understood that the only way I could truly prove I loved my son was to give him up to someone “better” than me. Their help consisted of presenting parenting as a horrible “Option” for my child and adoption as a “selfless choice.”

      And to suggest we have any power because we get to choose the adoptive parents for our children and decide what kind of contact, if any, is a joke. Not only are we being forced to make such life-altering decisions in the middle of a crisis (something any good crisis counselor would tell you is harmful)but what do expectant mothers truly have “power” over? Picking that “better” couple from a handful of profiles without having any true way of knowing them outside of what they show in hopes of adopting a child. Asking for a set amount of pictures/letters and/or visitation with no true way to enforce those requests once the adoption is finalized?

      The only true way to give expectant mothers in a crisis situation power is to first provide them with unbiased counseling from a true crisis counselor who is not, in any way, associated with the adoption agency, facilitator, attorney. They deserve, and should be given the help, to first find solutions the crisis they are facing. Solutions to whatever problems stand in their way for them to keep and raise their child. Only then can there ever even be a hint of power in their situation and the choices they make for themselves and their unborn child.

    60. Cassi says:

      As a mother who gave up her son for adoption. Who has lived the reality of being in a crisis situation while facing an unplanned pregnancy and gone through the accepted “options” counseling offered by adoption agencies, I find it wrong for any adoptive parent or hopeful adoptive parent to claim they know anything about what that is like.

      Just as I don’t believe I have the right to dictate how those who faced infertility should act or claim I know anything about what they go through or the procedures involved for so any to try and become pregnant, I don’t believe those who have not lived the reality of what really happens to expectant mothers facing a crisis situation while finding themselves with an unplanned pregnancy have any right to tell us how we should have felt, what we should have done or doubt what we went through in the process leading up to giving our children up for adoption.

    61. anonymous says:

      “anonymous, your assumption of the expectant mom’s “power” is based on her knowing a lot about adoption and her options. I don’t think many women in this position have this knowledge. They are dependent on the adoption counselors, working for the adoption agency, for this information. There are some terrific adoption counselors who do their best to go over all the expectant mother’s options and help her think through her options and make an informed choice that covers her needs and her desires for her child. And there are some who are not so terrific.”

      I don’t think it’s an accurate read to see pregnant women as possessing zero agency. We may have different theoretical understandings of what we mean when we talk about “power.”

      I agree her agency is limited by life circumstances. I agree that lawyers and counselors are an ethical aspect of this process. I agree that her agency may be limited by her mental capacities. I agree that she may be subject to domestic violence or family pressure.

      She finds herself in a disempowered position relative to other people with greater economic and social resources.

      And yet, it’s not accurate to see her as possessing no agency.

    62. anonymous says:

      “anonymous, it does seem that a better system would be to have totally independent counselors for expectant women in crisis to see to help them evaluate all their options. It sounds like from these comments that some countries have this type of system. Canada? Where else?”

      Does Canada have a system such as this? Caveat – I am not an expert in this area and have no direct experience. I don’t think Canada is much different from the states.

      Systems vary somewhat between the provinces.

      From talking to people who are adopting, I am under the impression there are public and private agencies.

      It’s not my impression that independent counseling exists or that there is one public “intake” organization. I am not at all under the impression there are NGOs that deal with women in crisis, as we’ve been told exist for Australian women. From talking to people involved in adoption, the counseling sounds quite similar to the system in the states, the private agencies in particular. Adoptive couples put together books for birth mothers, go to the birth, ect, ect.

      The Canadian provinces are fairly independent in their administration of things such as adoption, child care benefits, and health care. Quebec has different laws and benefits from Ontario.

    63. Greg says:

      “Hopefully, after reading the above links, one will see that FP isn’t just about leaving children with their bparents at all costs but is about preserving families.”

      See I think there are varying degrees of Family Preservation. I think there are those like yourself who have a rational view of what it is such as yourself. That makes sense and it’s hard for anyone to take issue with that.

      However, there are those who take Family Preservation to an extreme who put the needs of the biological family ahead of the child and are against any child being adopted into a non biological family. They would rather enable a bio parents poor behavior and have the kid age out of Foster Care than be adopted into a non biological family. They have taken Family Preservation and misinterpreted it. I think it’s important for us on the outside to recognize that these people don’t speak for yourself and others with rational views. We shouldn’t stereotype and lump you in with those people.

    64. cb says:

      (I am #111, I just forgot to use my name)

      ““What can happen is that if eparents start thinking of the child as the HAPs and/or if they end up with “helping to create a new family” as one of their reasons behind their decision to choose adoption, they can end up making the decision in the best interest of the HAPs rather than of their child.”

      There seems to be this delusion that the couple who wishes to adopt is driving this train. ”

      You seem to be misunderstanding what I was saying. I was pointing out that the above is what can go through an emom’s mind – it is often a coping mechanism on their behalf – at no time am I blaming it on the HAPs themselves. It is in fact something the adoption professionals need to keep an eye, however, some adoption prefessional do encourage that way of thinking because it makes an adoption more likely to go through.

      “That’s not how it works in the United States. In the US, if a woman is in economic need, they contact welfare workers and medicaid services. Women in poverty, with children, register with the government for aid and free medical services for their pregnancy and their child.

      Women in the United States do not contact adoption services to register for food stamps, public housing, and medicaid.”

      Women can and do often contact both welfare and adoption agencies. Women contact adoption agencies because they are CONSIDERING adoption as an OPTION and want to educate themselves more on the option. As I said in an earlier post, the eparents are making a decision about their child’s future – contacting a adoption agency for more information is a step to learning more about adoption. They may also be researching other options at the same time.

      A good agency will make that clear to their HAPs. I am sure that Anon AP is very thankful that she had an agency that was honest and open with her about what was actually happening. Her agency sounds like it dealt with reality. Some agencies come across as peddling in dreams for both eparents and haparents and in the end this falseness can caue issue down the line.

      “More services would be lovely. However, I grow weary of the rest of the world constantly putting down the United States.”

      The US is a wonderful country – just because I have issues with the concept of “adoption + industry” doesn’t mean I hate the US overall.

      “Australia has her own problems. This horrible surrogacy case is a great example of why Australia has issues.”

      Huh? I didn’t even mention Australia (except re the Homebuilders) – I was also referring to Canada and NZ when I said “other countries”. In fact, NZ is at the forefront when it comes to things like open adoption and the US can learn from them – there are some excellent adoption writers in NZ.

      As for the surrogacy thing, Imentioned that on another thread so we will leave that there.

    65. anonymous says:

      “anonymous, you seem to be very sure of what the world “should” be like. People “shouldn’t” allow emotions to cloud decision-making ”

      I am suggesting that people not rush into adoption or abortion.

      Don’t let extreme emotions push you into a decision you don’t want. Don’t visit a adoption agency because of family or boyfriend pressure.

      If parents are interested in relinquishing their child, they should OF COURSE talk to an agency.

      The job of the lawyer and the therapist is to provide information. People should always make an informed decision. That’s the job of the lawyer and the therapist — to provide more and relevant information.

      Of course it’s fine for people to change their mind. It’s fine to change one’s mind up to the point at which it’s irrevocable.

      But it’s harder to change your mind once you start down a path.

      • anonymous, it does seem that a better system would be to have totally independent counselors for expectant women in crisis to see to help them evaluate all their options. It sounds like from these comments that some countries have this type of system. Canada? Where else?

    66. anonymous says:

      “I’ll let others dissect your assessment of other countries adoption laws,”

      Counties with single-payer health care system are more reluctant to allow families to immigrate if they have sick or special needs children.

      This same issue comes into play with adoption if the child doesn’t have citizenship.

      Canada:
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/romanian-man-calls-canada-s-immigration-policy-outdated-1.2637247

      Bogdan’s 6-year-old son has Down Syndrome.

      “My son teaches how to love every day,” Bogdan said. “He’s a wonder, he’s a miracle for us.”

      “The letter from CIC says in part, “Your family member…is a person whose health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on social services in Canada.”

      http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/doctor-denied-visa-as-son-has-down-syndrome/2008/10/31/1224956298223.html

    67. anonymous says:

      “They likely know very little about adoption and most that I’ve spoken with have done little research prior to approaching an agency. This is NOT a position of power.”

      Dawn, don’t misunderstand me. I agree that women who relinquish children are NOT in a position of power in respect to their life circumstances. They are experiencing a train wreck.

      Mental health issues, economic issues, domestic violence, and family crisis are all reasons women end up in this place. These horrible situation are disempowering. She’s been failed by many people and many circumstances to end up in this place.

      Personal agency is different from societal power. She has the agency to chose the adoptive parents. She has great say in the type of relationship with the parents prior to placement. She has certain types of power at particular moments. That does not mean she is a powerful person in society. That does not mean she is not a victim of her life circumstances.

      The adoption therapist that posted in this thread, I’m sure, would articulate the range of choices in terms of the type of adoption — closed, open, semi-open, anonymous. And the therapist would match the woman with a couple that fit her preferences.

      If she cannot find a couple that matches her preferences, if she wishes, she could chose another agency.

      “After the adoption, she (or they) have little power at all.”

      It’s a legal adoption. The agency’s lawyer should clarify all of the legal implications to the woman considering adoption. This is his legal responsibility to adequately explain the situation.

      If the lawyer is not clarifying the legal issues prior to birth to the pregnant woman, that’s grounds for criminal negligence.

      If a parent wants custody rights over a child, she should never relinquish legal rights.

      No lawyer would advise relinquishing rights if a parent wanted custody or legal power over the child. Not in any circumstances.

      • anonymous, your assumption of the expectant mom’s “power” is based on her knowing a lot about adoption and her options. I don’t think many women in this position have this knowledge. They are dependent on the adoption counselors, working for the adoption agency, for this information. There are some terrific adoption counselors who do their best to go over all the expectant mother’s options and help her think through her options and make an informed choice that covers her needs and her desires for her child. And there are some who are not so terrific.

    68. anonymous says:

      I have read, and I am sure the other commenter has read, negative things on the internet written by people who call themselves “family preservationists” regarding gay couples, people with infertility, and name calling directed at anyone who is interested in adoption.

      The commenter is likely reacting to this unsavoury reputation, which has been acquired by people who call themselves by this name. Most people require respect in their interactions. Otherwise a dialogue will not be started.

      I also don’t think we need a special name to say the obvious:

      It is a horrible shame when people give up children for economic reasons. Nation-states and charities should support populations so families who wish to parent never give up children for economic reasons.

      That said – poverty is not a new situation. Some people will decide not to parent for primarily economic reasons. That is the world as it is, and not has we would like it to be.

      “What can happen is that if eparents start thinking of the child as the HAPs and/or if they end up with “helping to create a new family” as one of their reasons behind their decision to choose adoption, they can end up making the decision in the best interest of the HAPs rather than of their child.”

      There seems to be this delusion that the couple who wishes to adopt is driving this train.

      It’s all about the preferences of the mother/ birthmother. If she wants the entire process to be closed, then it’ll be closed. If she wants it to be anonymous, it’ll be anonymous. If she wants to interview the parents once, then that is what will happen.

      If she wants to develop a close, intense, emotional bond with prospective parents, then her agency will direct her to couples willing to engage in that sort of relationship.

      “In many other countries, a women considering her parenting options will contact a family service agency (sometimes government, sometimes NGO) where the first priority is to identify her situation”

      That’s not how it works in the United States. In the US, if a woman is in economic need, they contact welfare workers and medicaid services. Women in poverty, with children, register with the government for aid and free medical services for their pregnancy and their child.

      Women in the United States do not contact adoption services to register for food stamps, public housing, and medicaid. American women who have no intention of adopting have no reason to contact adoption agencies.

      More services would be lovely. However, I grow weary of the rest of the world constantly putting down the United States.

      Australia has her own problems. This horrible surrogacy case is a great example of why Australia has issues.

      Babies born overseas in surrogacy situations are not necessarily eligible for medical care in Australia. It’s difficult to adopt sick babies born overseas if one is Australian.

      The USA does not ban couples from adopting down syndrome children.

      The USA does not prevent people from immigrating to the USA if they have a down syndrome or severely ill child. Both Canada and Australia are guilty of this behaviour.

      • Anonymous, I’ll let others dissect your assessment of other countries adoption laws, but I do want to address the “who’s driving the train issue”. I don’t think the balance of power is totally one-sided either way, but with domestic adoption, the woman (or couple) making this decision is in the midst of a life crisis. They likely know very little about adoption and most that I’ve spoken with have done little research prior to approaching an agency. This is NOT a position of power. Compassionate and competent adoption counselors can help her sort through her options, but not all agencies and not all counselors are good about doing this. After the adoption, she (or they) have little power at all.
        With international adoption, most women/couples abandoning their children to orphanages are close to powerless.

    69. AnonAP says:

      anonymous, you seem to be very sure of what the world “should” be like. People “shouldn’t” allow emotions to cloud decision-making (of course investigating adoption as a potential option with a knowledgeable agency is data-gathering at it’s finest, which is a hallmark of informed decision-making), they “should” only contact an agency when they are sure of their decisions (though I’m still not clear on the why there. Counseling still has to occur, and kiddo takes 9 odd months to cook, so…why rush exactly?). Anyway, I once had a mentor who told me that if I found myself saying “should” very often, I need to pause and re-examine whether I’m addressing the reality of a situation vs. my wishful world. If you think that someone facing a pregnancy surrounded by situational or personal uncertainty wouldn’t at times benefit from talking with professionals with ready access to information, resources, and guidance, you’re living in a wishful world. Do some people know from day one? Probably so. Do others want to think it over and talk and learn? Absolutely.

      Before we met our daughter, we were matched with a couple considering adoption. They were certain that this was what they wanted to do for their child. We weren’t in the delivery room, but they were also adamant that the baby be directly placed with us post-birth, so we did arrive at the hospital on delivery day. She was a beautiful little girl, and we had the privilege of meeting her hours after birth. We talked with her parents, we talked with the social workers (who reminded us multiple times over that the decision was not yet final, so don’t go acting like mom and dad even though we’d been invited to the hospital), we met extended family, we left so they had lots of time to talk with each other and with the social worker and to admire their daughter. We were absolutely clear that we were there as an option only. Their daughter, their decision. They were certain they wanted to place up until the last discussion with the social worker. Then they realized that their child was a part of their family, and that they couldn’t see her in anyone else’s arms. Hurt like hell for us because it was saying goodbye to a dream again, and it also hurt in odd ways because we were so pleased for them that they had made the decision they did. It is a weird feeling to be happy for the reason that you’re in pain, but it did make the recovery process easier in the end. Better a temporary horrid and hard time for us than a lifetime of regret for them and their child. I do not in any way begrudge them the right to change their minds. How can I? I would have loved to be that little girl’s mom, but ONLY if adoption had been the best decision for that family. When she became real instead of abstract, the decision took on a new dimension for her parents, and that flipped their outlook and decision entirely. Good for them, good for her. They told us it brought them peace of mind in the last weeks of the pregnancy to know that we were there as an option. So, in the end, no. No, one needn’t be sure of one’s decision before contacting an agency. Boxing someone into a position like that and creating a barrier to asking questions and learning is ridiculous and counterproductive in my not so humble opinion.

    70. Anonymous says:

      However, I strongly believe that women should not be making appointments with adoption agencies until they are confident of their own minds (adoption). These decisions are irrevocable, and people owe it to themselves to think them through, and decide what they need for themselves, without outside persuasion.”

      In many other countries, a women considering her parenting options will contact a family service agency (sometimes government, sometimes NGO) where the first priority is to identify her situation and help her to improve her situation so that she is in the best possible position at the time of the birth to make an as uncompromised decision as possible. She can make her dcision without bias. If at this time, she feels unable to parent, then this is when adoption enters the picture.

      However, you and others are in the US where the many voluntary domestic adoptions are done by stand alone agencies. One problem with this is these very organisations who have a vested interest in adoptions going through are also the ones who provide the education, resources and counselling re adoption. APs wanting an ethical adoption need to do their research. There are some good agencies out there that fulfil their agencies as Anon AP recommends:

      “Agencies have an obligation to educate, counsel, and as far as I am concerned, help that expectant parent identify and access resources that may make it feasible for her, her and the baby’s father, or just the father to continue to raise that child. Someone walking into or calling an agency cold may well not have had the time or inclination to learn about the implications for themselves or their child should they choose to pursue adoption. The agency must provide that education in an ethical world, and there should be no expectation that this is the best plan. Our agency estimates that about 1 in 5 people who contact the agency end up being matched with PAPs. A smaller percentage ultimately choose to place. Everyone else changes their mind or is put in touch with resources to make placement unnecessary in the mind of the expectant parent. That is a fundamentally good thing.”

      This is where adoptive parents can have power. They can chose an agency that they believe to fulfill the above expectations. The best way to do that is to look at the “Unplanned Pregnancy” pages of an adoption site and check out their wording – if it sounds like they are doing the “hard sell” then avoid them. An agency that provides overall human services and where adoption is an auxillary service may be the best option.

      HAPs do also have to remember that the eparents motives are different than theirs. The HAPs are wanting to build their families. The eparents are making a decision about their child’s future. The eparents must concentrate on their chid. What can happen is that if eparents start thinking of the child as the HAPs and/or if they end up with “helping to create a new family” as one of their reasons behind their decision to choose adoption, they can end up making the decision in the best interest of the HAPs rather than of their child.

      The one area that I do have great sympathy for HAPs in the US is that too often, they are left to their own devides when trying to sort out what is ethical and what isn’t. Too often, I’ve seen HAPs on other forums say “I can’t believe that my agency said this”. Agencies should be educating their HAPs as well as to expectations. There are many APs who will admit that they were clueless when they first started out but educated themselves on the way so they knew what to watch out for.

    71. Robyn C says:

      Wow! 108 comments! With most people who stayed on topic saying either that, no, the PAPs shouldn’t be in the delivery room or that it should be the expectant/new mom’s decision.

      Someone said that hospitals were encouraging women to stay with their babies post-birth, but that completely depends on the hospital. Some are conducive to more “natural” births and after-births, while some are more concerned with the technicalities and “medical” side of births. I don’t think any two of my friends have had the same experience, birth-wise, even when those friends have been at the same hospital! So I don’t think you can generalize and say that hospitals or medical professionals agree that remaining with or close to mom after birth is the norm.

      Someone else was incredulous that a woman would have *NO ONE* to support her, aside from the PAPs. Unfortunately, there are women who have no supportive family or friends, no partner, indeed, no one. DD’s birthmother was one of these people. She gave birth alone, except for the nurses and doctor. Sometimes, that very lack of support is why the expectant mother is choosing adoption.

    72. anonymous says:

      “Someone approaching an adoption agency may well be in a position where they are in a form of crisis and unsure of next steps. Agencies have an obligation to educate, counsel, and as far as I am concerned, help that expectant parent identify and access resources that may make it feasible for her, her and the baby’s father, or just the father to continue to raise that child.”

      I certainly would agree that agencies have a moral obligation to provide mental health assistance and therapy in addition to providing excellent legal representation.

      However, I strongly believe that women should not be making appointments with adoption agencies or planned parenthood clinics until they are confident of their own minds (adoption/abortion). These decisions are irrevocable, and people owe it to themselves to think them through, and decide what they need for themselves, without outside persuasion.

      People should not allow their immediate emotions to direct profound decision making. The impulse to jump into situations, and irrevocable decision-making, is not wise.

      “I don’t think you are seeing as much anti adoption rhetoric in these comments.”

      I’d disagree. I am not the only reader to have this reaction.

      “Focus on those and listen to what they are saying because we can and should learn from all members of the adoption triad.”

      It does not take much negativity to re-trigger trauma. Therapists advise people to avoid unproductive, negative environments.

      I count at least two other posters who were taken aback by the hatefulness of several comments.

      People going thorough infertility are working with low reserves. They have an obligation to preserve their emotional health for themselves and for their present and future family.

      They must avoid people who engage in unproductive, toxic behaviour and language.

      There are numerous articulate and intelligent books and resources that do not expose people to name-calling or political agendas (pro-natural law/ anti-IVF people/ people who utilize the word “adoptor-raptor”).

      People should insist on respect in their interactions with others. Do not accept less.

    73. anonymous says:

      “They don’t care about the destruction or prevention of adoptive families or families formed by 3rd party reproduction. In my mind supporters of this agenda are no different than those who were supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act-they only cared about defending certain kinds of marriages-heterosexual ones”

      Agreed!

      They don’t want us to ever have a family.

      They are anti-adoption of infants, anti-ART, anti-IVF, anti donor ART, anti-gestational surrogacy.

      They are against altruistic gestational surrogacies. They would make it illegal for a sister to carry a gestational surrogacy. They are extreme.

      This is what is important to remember: They do not represent the large majority of birth mothers. They do not represent the great majority of adoptees.

      These are people who have issues with family members and with society. They are deeply unhappy. They are working out their rage on the internet.

      We should not let them rent space in our heads. Nor should we allow them to scapegoat us for their personal or political agendas.

      Does the gay community listen to hate speech? Nope! It is not healthy to listen to those who hate you simply for existing and wanting to form a family.

      We should not listen to toxic hate speech. Do not allow it to affect your emotions or your behaviour or your goals.

      • I don’t think you are seeing as much anti adoption rhetoric in these comments. You have to acknowledge that some of been well reasoned and not inflammatory. Focus on those and listen to what they are saying because we can and should learn from all members of the adoption triad.

    74. Anon AP says:

      “Personally, I do not think women should contact an adoption agency unless they are quite sure they wish to relinquish. Just as women should not make an doctor’s appointment for an abortion, women should not approach adoption agencies unless they are quite sure of their decision.”

      anonymous, I am just going to pull this one quote out of your string of comments. I heartily and completely disagree with you here. Someone approaching an adoption agency may well be in a position where they are in a form of crisis and unsure of next steps. Agencies have an obligation to educate, counsel, and as far as I am concerned, help that expectant parent identify and access resources that may make it feasible for her, her and the baby’s father, or just the father to continue to raise that child. Someone walking into or calling an agency cold may well not have had the time or inclination to learn about the implications for themselves or their child should they choose to pursue adoption. The agency must provide that education in an ethical world, and there should be no expectation that this is the best plan. Our agency estimates that about 1 in 5 people who contact the agency end up being matched with PAPs. A smaller percentage ultimately choose to place. Everyone else changes their mind or is put in touch with resources to make placement unnecessary in the mind of the expectant parent. That is a fundamentally good thing.

    75. Anonymous IF says:

      In comment 98 I meant to say “those who can and do take their fertility for granted”

    76. Anonymous IF says:

      Also-I stand by my disbelief and dislike for the “Family Preservation” agenda, because the supporters of it only care about preserving one kind of family-those that are naturally conceived and born. They don’t care about the destruction or prevention of adoptive families or families formed by 3rd party reproduction. In my mind supporters of this agenda are no different than those who were supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act-they only cared about defending certain kinds of marriages-heterosexual ones. And btw-they were “defending” them from something that never threatened hetereosexual marriages in the first place. How come we were able to so quickly see how discriminatory DOMA was and is and stand up to it, but yet we turn a blind eye to how dangerous FP might be to families that do not fall under its “protective” umbrella?

    77. Anonymous IF says:

      Justin in Comment 72 and Anonymous in 87
      You both said what I wanted to say in more eloquent words than I ever could.
      I just wanted to go on record saying that I am not “immature”. I am a very kind and compassionate person who has been pushed to my very limit by derogatory comments about IF and alternate family building options by those who can and do take their IF for granted. As I have commented in the past on other blog posts, I have come here to learn as much as I can about alternate ways of building a family, and I have had all I am going to take from people who think that they are entitled to have the last word about if and when people such as myself should become parents just because they have regrets about the choices that they themselves made in their own lives. And at the risk of sounding immature, at least I apologized-see comment 75. This is a sincere apology for those who choose to read it as such. I will not hold my breath waiting for the quick – to -insult birthparents to apologize in a similar fashion. I am tired of having to feel guilty about still wanting to be a parent even though I am incapable of getting pregnant and giving birth in a “natural” way. I no longer wish to subject myself to such toxic self-righteousness and blame-shifting. I was hoping for better from a site entitled “Creating a Family”-as I have said in other blog posts in recent days.

    78. anonymous says:

      Something we should state clearly:

      The birth mother and baby have may divergent and competing interests.

      It may be best for a mother to have six weeks or a year or two prior to deciding that she wants to relinquish her child. A birth mother may want an extended period of time to decide if she wants to relinquish. But extended temporary care is inferior to a stable, permanent home.

      It may be ideal for her to have the option to visit her child in a good temporary home for two years prior to making a decision to relinquish.

      It is best for the child to be in a permanent situation as soon as possible after birth.

      These are competing needs. Which need is more important?

      Personally, I do not think women should contact an adoption agency unless they are quite sure they wish to relinquish. Just as women should not make an doctor’s appointment for an abortion, women should not approach adoption agencies unless they are quite sure of their decision.

      Some people accuse doctors of “forcing” them to get abortions. Some people accuse adoption agencies of “forcing” them to relinquish.

      In the area of reproduction, women make irrevocable decisions.

      People have to take responsibility for their own agency in making those irrevocable decisions.

    79. anonymous says:

      “Perfect world scenario, of course you will agree, is that every baby is able to be cared for by their natural parents – so if mom is considering adoption, then we are already losing points.”

      Most people don’t agree with this point.

      If a newborn is relinquished at birth, it’s not less ideal for the baby.

      In gestational surrogacy situations, there is no trauma of separation for the infant. As long as the infant is given to the parents at birth, it’s an ideal situation.

    80. anonymous says:

      “Truthfully, all too many of us have no clue what we are doing and while we might not really be victims, we FEEL like victims and we even can act like it.”

      Feeling like a victim is not equivalent to being a victim.

      Adult have to make profound decisions all the time. Women have to make profound reproductive decisions on the advice of their doctors. We can’t sue doctors for abortions after the fact unless the doctors lie to us about medical circumstances.

      Adults make profound choices all the time.

      The question is competency. Is an individual mentally competent to make a decision? Are they mature enough to make a decision?

      This is why every birth mother should have her own lawyer and her own representation. I do not think she should be able to waive representation.

      The only question is mental competency and legal representation.

      If she has adequate legal representation, and if she is a mentally competent adult, it is not logical to say she is a victim of the adoption agency.

      She may well be a victim of economic or personal circumstances. That is not the same thing as being the victim of the lawyer, or of the adoption agency, which represents her.

    81. anonymous says:

      “Anonymous, I’m glad you see that the immaturity is not one sided.”

      Why would immaturity only be associated with one large group of people?

      Makes no sense.

      It’s prejudicial judge people according to a reproductive or parental status.

      Don’t prejudge people. People are individuals. Meet a person first. And it’s silly and immature and destructive behaviour to stereotype people.

      To assume that “all adoptive parents are…” or “all birthmothers are…” is not constructive.

      People are individuals.

      People commit rhetorical violence when they erase someone’s individuality and replace it with a negative stereotype.

    82. Greg says:

      Justin,

      While I agree with you almost always and completely understand where you are coming from, I think you are being unfair to the other side. Birthmothers like us are coming from a place of hurt. These are sensitive discussions for them. These are discussions that will bring out strong emotions in them that we could never understand. Just like with us we are coming from a place of hurt and are vulnerable.

      The best thing we can do is listen to them, not dismiss them and not take personal offense to it. I understand that the last part is hard for us to do. Heck it’s very hard for me to not take personal offense to it. But I’m trying and think I’m getting better at it with time.

      The only thing I’ll say about your point how expectant mothers having the power to decide is that unless you’ve been in that spot it’s easier said than done. It’s like people who tell us we should just adopt from Foster Care or live Childless, it’s easier said than done.

    83. Snuggle Lee says:

      Dawn, a few years ago I had the opportunity to attend a training workshop by Dr Daniel Hughes – an attachment expert and very well respected clinical psychologist and author. When I finally got the chance to talk to him I asked about newborn/bio mom separation at birth. I told him I was almost an immediate foster mother for the new baby and the baby would have yet another mother in 2 weeks time. I was looking for reassurance more than anything else because I foster many high needs children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) Attachment Disorder of any kind is one of the saddest things to witness in kids.
      He did reassure me by saying that the newborn while in utero is completely immersed in his mother’s rhythm and that that is the beginning of healthy attachment – but when I begin to care for baby the rhythm changes and baby adjusts. He said if the child’s next 2 weeks are spent in a loving environment where trust and bonding develops then baby acquires something akin to a skill. When you are loved and happy and you have this “skill” you can transfer it to your new and permanent caregiver. Obviously I don’t remember word for word but this explanation coming from someone so knowledgeable made me feel better.
      http://www.danielhughes.org/

    84. @Jason.. I feel I must address this:

      “Every birth mother who faces the decision of whether to allow the potential adoptive parent into the room has of her own initiative sought an adoption agency or lawyer, of her own volition made a choice between various adoptive parents, and received the support of those parents for the remainder of her pregnancy up until the birth. Every birth mother could have terminated the adoption process at any point until the birth and could do so after the birth as well.”

      There is almost too much to say, but it can perfectly be addressed by saying you just have no idea how it really is.. Yes, that is the way it looks, but we really do often FEEL pretty dern powerless. We DO look to the agency or other professionals to show us HOW to do this because most haven’t ever relinquished before and they don’t teach this in school. So you learn in the middle of a crisis by following the ones who do know.. the professionals.. and I have to say, I don’t have a great deal of trust in their agendas.

      If we are looking into adoption, then chances are, we DO NOT feel that we actually DO have other choices.. so the ideas of walking away and terminating the relationships are often just as impossible as the reality of parenting in our own heads. The reality is that we indeed might have other choices, BUT adoption often is presented as THE thing that will solve every issue. And yeah, lots of us WANT to believe that it is the perfect answer. SO we try so hard to do the right thing. We follow what the professionals say. We think THEY know what they are doing and we must listen and we do. SO our voices.. we don’t raise them. We might even shut ourselves up. Truthfully, all too many of us have no clue what we are doing and while we might not really be victims, we FEEL like victims and we even can act like it.

      Lord knows the MOST powerless I ever felt in my life was that time.

    85. @Dawn; I will admit that I don’t think my perfect 6 weeks would fly ever, but I do see it as a good place to start compromising from. And I won’t even argue that it might also not be best for the newborn. Perfect world scenario, of course you will agree, is that every baby is able to be cared for by their natural parents – so if mom is considering adoption, then we are already losing points. (and that is NOT an AP dis!.. it’s more like saying a child in the ICU didn’t have an perfect optimum birth and parties must now deal with the next best? KWIM) ) Even if adoption MUST happen, I would like to see a “softer” transition from mom to the APs? I don’t know what that looks like persee.. maybe its not “foster care” which has just so many other thoughts associated with it, but an intern transitional place, where care takers are specially trained to deal with babies possibly experiencing trauma; Mom has time to visit and give baby the bonding, the APS can separately also visit too so nothing is ‘Unknown” when it happens? Ah, I dream of a perfect world…

      • Claudia,it’s something to think about for sure. Not sure I think 6 weeks could be best for the baby, but I hear you point about needing to start somewhere for compromising. I do see the need for the baby to start as soon as possible attaching to the parents who are going to raise him, but your situation would allow for some of that.

    86. anonymous says:

      “So you have people you have grown fond of, fond enough to consider giving your child too, which is pretty darn committed. You wouldn’t if you didn’t like them, feel for them, want them to be parents.”

      These preferences are often governed by the birth mother. She wants to get to know the parents. She wants that intense interaction.

      Most adoptive parents would prefer to not get into these (multiple) emotional relationships. Many adoptive parents would prefer a situation where the baby is not introduced until the baby is relinquished.

      But agencies work according to the preferences of the birth mothers. If birth mothers want to interview people months before the baby is born — that is what is going to happen. If she wants a relationship and emotional support, that is what is going to happen. Adoptive parents have little control over the adoption process prior to relinquishment.

    87. anonymous says:

      “Even if a bmom begged and pleaded with my husband and I to be present in the delivery room, I would refuse”

      I would think that adoptive parents would be under tremendous pressure to do anything that the birth mother would like. She can change her mind at any moment, and she can chose another couple. I would think the couple would be desperate to give her anything and everything that she asked for.

      I like the idea of the baby being in foster care until the birth mother had decided 100% for adoption. I would only hope that the foster parents had a lot of time to devote to the infant. There are some volunteers who go into the local hospital to hold babies who don’t have someone to hold them. That is such a sad image — that a newborn baby wouldn’t have someone to hold him constantly.

    88. anonymous says:

      “Justin, I’m not sure I agree with assessment of the power balance in adoption.”

      I do agree with Justin in that there are posts on this thread that do not read as if they are written by adults.

      There is no excuse for painting all adoptive parents as evil. It is simply an immature thing to do.

      Likewise, it is immature and irresponsible to paint all birthmothers with negative stereotypes. There are a minority of immature people acting out on the internet. Don’t be reactive to the provocation.

      Let us not pretend that there are not emotionally inflammatory, immature groups on the internet. There are people who equate adoption in North America with slavery in internet memes. There are people who routinely use the language “adoptor-raptors.”

      I firmly believe there is a point at which past trauma does not excuse present misbehaviour behaviour. That goes for anyone involved in adoption or infertility.

      Anyone who acts like a 7th grader should be ashamed.

    89. anonymous says:

      “Presenting birth mothers as helpless victims of monstrous and powerful potential adoptive parents seems to me a very bizarre fantasy, and an instance of displaced aggression.”

      This.

      Some people commenting are not simply opposed to domestic adoption, but are part of a political group opposed to surrogacy, all IVF, and donor ART.

      “Discussion is healthy, especially when we approach it with an open mind.”

      Dawn, I do think discussion can be interesting. I’ve read a fair amount on the internet, and come to the unfortunate conclusion that some interactions are toxic.

      This dimension of internet interactions is not constructive and, I think, is unproductive.

      There’s a point at which it is not discussion or dialogue but toxic and destructive. When it gets to that point, I think people should be cautious about subjecting themselves to the toxicity.

      You can absorb their negativity. Optimistic people lift spirits and give us energy. Negative, angry people bring us down.

      Some people are not interested in fruitful dialogue. They are interested in venting anger. They have a need to work out their trauma, and are doing so on the internet. I believe it’s a projected substitute because they feel unable to hurt or reach the ones with whom they are angry.

      However, people who are suffering from infertility are going through medically induced trauma and, often times, severe emotional distress.

      Beware exposing yourself to people who want to cause you pain. Beware of people who want to project onto you their own demons. You are traveling a difficult road. You need to protect your emotional health for your family and your future well being. You owe that to yourself and to your loved ones.

      • [There’s a point at which it is not discussion or dialogue but toxic and destructive. When it gets to that point, I think people should be cautious about subjecting themselves to the toxicity.] Agree.

    90. marilynn says:

      “As an adoptee, it’s not that I think it would have bothered me back THEN as an infant, to have my APs in the room (not sure about all that primal wound stuff, or what exactly babies are pondering in the delivery room)….it’s that it would feel like a violation NOW, when I’m an adult who understands adoption, relationships, privacy and loss.”

      That is really well articulated. It’s what I meant when I said I thought primal wound was hooey because nobody remembers being born. But there are plenty of logical reasons for people who get adopted to feel violated by their identity being changed and being cut off physically and legally from their family and the whole emotional thing of wondering whether they were worthy of love and care and a place in their own family. I would not limit the upset to being about mom either you’d be surprised how many people are looking for their fathers and how many fathers look for their kids. No womb there so it must be something more gender neutral like they made a person and they owe it to them to care about them

    91. Rebecca Vahle says:

      I have read all the comments here and I agree with much that is being said (aside from the extreme bashing that gets us nowhere) I work in a hospital as an Adoption Liaison, I am an adoptive mom…don’t shoot me, but I feel strongly that we need to shift the question from Should the (potential) adoptive parents be there – to has this Mom had strong counseling that makes her aware of the lifelong decision she is making. If we tell her you “should” do this, or “should” do that, aren’t we still back in the 50’s where people are making decisions for Moms based on what “others see as good” (Haven’t we been there, done that –and sadly, still are at times?). My job is to be there for the Mom and to help her anyway I can. I am not pushing adoption – I am there and my goal is neutral, compassionate care that ensures my patient…the mom…has a voice and has a choice. I make NO money off a completed adoption…and I meet women often early in their pregnancy so we can help them find parenting resources so they don’t end up placing their child after all. Sadly, I have walked this path with many women and ultimately some do look back and have regrets, and even more disappointing (dreadful, painful, devastating) are the ones that say, “I really did think it was the best thing for my child” I do, however, see many beautiful adoptions take place (again, don’t shoot me)… those that feel most at peace have explored fully their options (and not on a “let me scare you into realizing you can’t afford this baby” worksheet). We also find that those that are most at peace had full control and crafted their hospital time and it may or may not include the potential adoptive family. I’ve been the one asked by mom to modify the hospital plan when she wants more time – or less – or whatever and we let the family know that this is her time. I know some would mock the idea of “full control” in a situation like this, but I really do work hard to continually remind them that this is their delivery story and it’s up to them. Even if they defer questions to the family, I still bring them back to her as the mom! I do have to wonder with this model in place at every hospital, how many women would feel supported and empowered to face their hospital time knowing someone has their back that has “no skin in the game”. Regardless of the decisions made around the hospital time and contact, I think it is essential that there is mutual respect for all involved and if birth/first moms are regreting their decision in hindsight to have PAPs at the bedside, I think we would be wrong to ignore that insight. As far as all the stress, brain study stuff, expectations in the room, etc. ..I gotta think on that – I agree that there are many deliveries that don’t fit what has been set as “best for baby” – I think what’s best for baby is a mom that is empowered with unbias counseling and voice and choice in her delivery story.

    92. cb says:

      “I’d like to explore further the idea of restricting adoption matches to post birth. How does it work in the countries that have this type of requirement. Do women considering adoption feel pressured to quickly choose a family? Have there been any studies on how the children fair in infancy or childhood (thinking of “Bottle-Washer’s” comment on her concern as the foster mom in these situation about attachment.)”

      In regards to Australia, each state is slightly different so I will concentrate on New South Wales, the state in which I reside and the also the most populous state:

      Here is a link to the Dept of Family and Community Services:

      http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/docs_menu/parents_carers_and_families/fostering_and_adoption/adoption/are_you_a_birth_parent.html

      I will link the Mandatory Written Information on Adoption that all parents considering relinquishment in NSW must read:

      http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/docswr/_assets/main/documents/adoption/info_birthparents.pdf

    93. cb says:

      “Thank you Snuggle Lee. Do the women feel as if they have enough time to choose?”

      Dawn, I would assume that the 17 days that Snuggle Lee and Bottle Washer talk about is a MININUM time. If they need longer, I’m sure they are given longer.

      • cb, you’re right. Snuggle Lee clarified that. But I don’t think it is the child’s interest to have a long(ish) period of time in foster care. Ultimately, it is the child’s best interest that has to govern our decisions.

    94. Snuggle Lee says:

      Dawn Davenport – The birth moms never feel pressured. Even if they have not decided by the end of 17 days they are given more time. The entire process is geared toward the mother and her needs. Most moms I have worked with though already know what they want do and rarely change their mind. I think it’s a better process here in that the adoptive parents know nothing of the baby until they are only 24 hours away from taking that baby home.

      • Thanks Snuggle Lee. I suppose no one has done research on the advantages or disadvantages to the baby/child/adult adoptee. And plenty of other children have been separated from parents for the first weeks after birth without ill effect later in life. I’m thinking in terms of infants in NICU. I’m learning a lot from thinking about this idea. I think the primary focus has to be on what’s in the best interest of the child, and I always think in terms of permanency as soon as possible being in the child’s best interest. I think the research would support that the fewest disruptions as possible are in the child’s best interest. However, I also see that it is a balancing act because we also have to respect the mothers’s (birth mother) rights. I’d love to hear what others think about how to strike this balance.

    95. Anonymous IF says:

      I apologize for the derogatory comments re: birth mothers and adoptees. I just find it hard to remain respectful to those who show no interest whatsoever in remaining respectful in return. I still stand by my position, however. If I were a PAP, I would stay far away from the delivery room-for one I agree that this time should be for the birthing family alone. I also would worry about getting in the medical professionals’ way and causing complications in that respect. But, judging by all I have read here and in other places, I would mostly stay out because I don’t want to be a lightening rod for the bmom’s feelings of regret (if in fact she has any). Even if a bmom begged and pleaded with my husband and I to be present in the delivery room, I would refuse, because my experience has taught me that some bmoms (not all) will not have a healthy way of dealing with their feelings of regret for choosing adoption for their child, and will seek to blame outside forces for their decision, and I would not want my husband and I to be first in line to be scapegoated. Some of the bmoms who have commented on here are clear illustrations of what I am talking about. I will try in future to be more careful about how I express my views, but my position will remain the same regarding the blame-shifting views of others whenever they emerge.

    96. TAO says:

      Anonymous IF – your response to comment #44…

      Pre-birth matching has the intention of creating a relationship between the expectant mother / e-parents. EP’s foster the relationship, keeping in touch, going out to lunch, what have you, in hopes of becoming parents – face facts that they are treating the e-mother as if she is the best of the best. They may even speak of the heart break of previous failed matches, they might not, but the SW might insure it is known to the e-mother. So you have people you have grown fond of, fond enough to consider giving your child too, which is pretty darn committed. You wouldn’t if you didn’t like them, feel for them, want them to be parents. Often pre-birth matching is likened to dating for a reason…

      Now, I can’t say what it is like to give birth with meds – but without, I was so overwhelmed with exhaustion, hormones, pain never relenting even for the 2-3 seconds between the end of one contraction and the beginning of the next…countless hours of writhing pain…I was physically, and emotionally, done, so done. I could not have stood up for myself, what I wanted, I could barely speak I was so exhausted. I had nothing left in me to do so. I couldn’t have told anyone to get out, go away, much less someone I had come to love, all I could do was be there with everything and everyone around me. Unless you have gone through this, something that is so intense, so overwhelming – please don’t try to justify, and dismiss mothers who did it, and said they couldn’t bring themselves to hurt someone else they cared for who was in the room. Especially when adoption counseling can add to the mother not feeling as good as, those hopeful parents who jumped through all the hoops and look perfect on paper and in person when they meet…

      There is an element of coercion in adoptive parents being part of the birth – whether it is intended, or unintended, it’s there. It bothers me no end that the SW, or whoever is, the one to suggest that the e-parents be at the hospital – no, they have no business suggesting that as they hold a position of power, the professional who has a code of ethics to follow, and that means they should first, foremost, and their only focus should be on what is best for their clients, the expectant mother and father.

      If you ever adopt, please, please, make sure that element plays no part. It’s important at the time, but it’s far more important in 10, 20, 30 years from now when facing the child you adopt, and looking them in the eye, and being to state without a shadow of doubt – that their adoption was squeaky clean, and all parties went into it and completed it, willingly of their own accord, no intended, or unintended coercion, ever entered the picture.

      There will always be children who need adoption – there is no need for children who don’t need adoption, to be adopted because of a situation like this.

    97. Greg says:

      “I would never suggest to any adoptee that they must believe in or admit to suffering from a Primal Wound. But I sure as heck wouldn’t criticize, mock or insult those who not only can relate to it but have also found great healing in reading the book. It is an insult, in my opinion, for anyone to pull out the “propoganda” card against something that is a very real pain for many. I can’t help but wonder how many more adoptees must have the courage to stand up and speak out about their pain and loss and how it relates to the Primal Wound before others finally stop trying so hard to cast doubt or find excuses for something that is, obviously, real for many.
      I have a feeling, for the adoptive parents here who don’t believe in the loss and pain of the Primal Wound, have a much different reaction when the tables are turned and others try to deny their own pain and loss of infertility.
      Just because you haven’t experienced it, doesn’t make it untrue for those that have.”

      So true Cassi. These are emotional subjects for so many people that it’s difficult at times for all of us to be respectful.

      “The fact of the matter is, by protecting mothers during such a personal, intimate time, the only ones who will truly “lose” is the hopeful adoptive parents. ”

      See I don’t think they’d lose. At least for me I wouldn’t see it as myself losing. I think they win by not being there. It’s less painful should the mother not decide to place their baby. I think it’s a more reasonable explanation to the child. And finally I think it helps the potential relationship between the two sets of parents that have a mutual respect for one another.

    98. Justin says:

      Wow! So much hate! Reading some of the comments posted here, one would think that hopeful adoptive parents walk around impregnating poor little girls, kidnapping their babies, or else coercing them at gunpoint to sign documents which they do not understand.
      Reality check, at least in the developed world: The adoptive parents are a pretty powerless side in the whole adoptive world. Every birth mother who faces the decision of whether to allow the potential adoptive parent into the room has of her own initiative sought an adoption agency or lawyer, of her own volition made a choice between various adoptive parents, and received the support of those parents for the remainder of her pregnancy up until the birth. Every birth mother could have terminated the adoption process at any point until the birth and could do so after the birth as well.
      Presenting birth mothers as helpless victims of monstrous and powerful potential adoptive parents seems to me a very bizarre fantasy, and an instance of displaced aggression.

      • Justin, I’m not sure I agree with assessment of the power balance in adoption. A woman considering adoption is usually in the midst of the biggest life crisis she has ever faced, which is not a position of power. You are right that many pre-adoptive parents feel powerless because the decision maker is the expectant mom, but I once the baby is with the adoptive parents many (not all) first parents feel totally powerless. In fact, few states actually enforce pre-adoption openness agreements between the birth and adoptive parents. Which means that the adoptive parents can close the adoption for any reason. I am very clear that the best interests of the child should govern openness, but adoptive parents insecurity can and sometimes does take center stage.

    99. Baby Girl Stephens says:

      I feel that the time surrounding birth should be for the mother and baby to spend together. Adoptive parents get the next 18+ years; they don’t need to take over the child’s birth experience as well. I’m especially troubled by the possibilities this has when pursued by AP’s who believe they can mitigate infertility pain by experiencing as much of the pregnancy/birth process as they can, through the mother….I’ve seen APs describe attending their child’s birth with no mention at all of the mother! It’s like she’s been mentally erased from their recollection. The focus of the story is no longer the baby’s birth, but is changed to “when they handed you to us”.

      As an adoptee, it’s not that I think it would have bothered me back THEN as an infant, to have my APs in the room (not sure about all that primal wound stuff, or what exactly babies are pondering in the delivery room)….it’s that it would feel like a violation NOW, when I’m an adult who understands adoption, relationships, privacy and loss.

      Anonymous AP in comment #6 – curious why the natural dad had to stay home to babysit instead of coming to the hospital for the birth? Perhaps a better way of supporting mom would have been to offer to watch the kids, or at least pay for a sitter, so that mom could have her partner with her. No matter how pure the AP intentions, I’m still uncomfortable with the mom’s only support system during the birth process being someone who, when it comes down to it, is there because they want something from her.

    100. Stephanie says:

      In my horrific adoption experience and knowing what I do now about the people who I chose to adopt my son, I am forever grateful they were nowhere near myself or my child when I had him. If I could only take back that they are even in our lives at all…

    101. Anonymous IF says:

      I find it very difficult to believe that people who would make comments like this:
      “Adopters truly are a type of human predator. I have yet to meet one that isn’t”
      “Nothing short of sanctified rape”
      “Prospective adoptive parents should not be there like vultures to snatch that helpless baby!……. The adoptive parents didn’t bring that child into this world. Back up and give the rightful parents and baby some space. What pressure! No different that people gathering around someone that is dying and wanting to know what’s in it for me. How inhumane!”
      “Having APs standing there, supposedly assisting (hogwash) is inhuman. Inhuman. It just goes to show that as soon as a mother of loss or adoptee say otherwise, you have all dismissed it. The whole premise of adoption was to grant homes to orphans. If you are standing over a birthing mother during the most intimate of exeriences of her life, you are not caring for the mother or her child. You want to separate her from the beautiful natural experience of childbirth so that she does not bond. And that is inhuman.”
      “Some of the comments from APs and HAPs are too typical – “why can’t we have our cake AND eat it too – NO FAIR!”

      If it’s not fair, then birth your own baby.”
      and Comment #44-
      Would magically turn into shrinking violets if and when the PAP’s for their child make a request to be there in the delivery room and be “unable” to say no to that request, or any other kind of request. Oh, sorry, I forgot, these are POTENTIAL BIRTH MOTHERS we are talking to, here. These poor, put upon, lost little girls who had their voices silenced from the moment of their child’s conception to the moment their precious children were “snatched” from their arms by forces of coercion that were beyond their control to respond to or even resist. Doesn’t make sense to me. Sour grapes at having made a choice that they now regret and now do not possess the maturity to deal with in an adult way-now THAT makes sense to me.

      • Anonymous IF, just as I don’t think it is responsible (or a good support for one’s position) to make derogatory comments about adoptive parents, I equally don’t think it responsible (or a good support for one’s position) to make derogatory comments about birth mothers or adoptees.

    102. Greg says:

      “If it’s not fair, then birth your own baby.”

      Kym,

      While I agree with you that the PAPs or HAPs shouldn’t be in the delivery room, I think you fail to recognize that not everyone is able to “birth their own baby”.

    103. Anonymous IF says:

      “No, adoption is NOT just like giving birth and while I can understand the desire for HAPs to be there for those first moments, it feels fake, like let’s pretend we gave birth, You didn’t. And you will have the lifetime for that child; you get all the years filled with the memories- mom gets mere days if that”
      Uh, no-Bmom also gets the nine months pre-birth. She gets the feeling of the baby moving inside of her, she gets to feel the baby kick, etc etc. This is something that PAP’s/HAP’s/AP’s will NEVER get to have with their future child (if it is in fact to become their future child)and it is something that BM’s like to lord over those of us who become parents without giving birth, whether or not we are physically able to. To some, that time is more important than any of the time after-in that it doesn’t matter if a bio mom is neglectful of her child’s needs once he/she is out of the womb-if she ignores him/her when he/she cries, if she “forgets” to feed him/her because something more important came up, it really doesn’t matter because hey, she got pregnant and gave birth to the child so that makes him/her hers now and always. Newsflash: The situation of neglect I just described can cause trauma to a newborn too, trauma that makes the “trauma” described by the authors of this study look as tragic as a stubbed toe! So even if a baby stays with his/her natural parents, if the parents aren’t fit to look after a goldfish, that child is going to suffer trauma. Trauma that could have been avoided if that child’s needs had really been looked to by someone else who cares. Could be the natural parents, could be AP’s. Who knows….

    104. Laurel says:

      “Kym, after I read your comment, I felt as if we must be reading different comments,”

      Tone and content is completely different once you have been exploited.

      Go back through and go down the list to read how many did attend the birth or really wished they got there in time.

      That experience completely colors how the comments read as a collective for a good stretch of early commenting.

      How many said they participated and didn’t regret it or wished they didn’t miss it?

    105. Anonymous IF says:

      “If it’s not fair, then birth your own baby”.
      Kym-if you think that adoption is so bad, then don’t choose it for your child. Go ahead and parent-but do it yourself. Don’t rely on anyone else (other people’s tax dollars, PAP’s/HAP’s bankrolling your pregnancy). Expectant parents do it everyday, all over the world-what makes you think you are so special that you deserve a leg up to do this important thing? Get yourself what is commonly known as a “job” and raise your children yourself. Hey, you might even be able to pay for the hospital birth, then. I don’t care if you have to hold bake sales on your lawn (if you even have a lawn) in order to afford what your child will need, if you are so dead set against adoption that you would insult those who cannot simply “birth their own baby” in order to become parents, then no one (and I mean NO ONE) is forcing you to choose it. You chose it and now regret it-whose fault is that? Not the HAP’s/PAP’s/AP’s-they are just the scapegoats you choose to blame for your own misgivings about choosing adoption and your own immaturity when it comes to owning your own decisions. Perhaps this is the real reason why PAP’s shouldn’t be present in the delivery room-to protect themselves from such unjust accusations from BM’s who are too childish to live up to the responsibilities of their choices. (And to those of you who will twit me for using the term “BM” instead of “bmom” I do so deliberately. I make a distinction in my mind between the two. Bmoms earn that title by being mature and respectful about the whole process and the people within it (including PAP’s) BM’s see themselves as victims and blame everyone and everything but themselves for the choices that they make. Bmom’s are respectful and responsible. BM’s are just pieces of……work. So that is clarified.
      “Why does everything involving a woman’s right to choose become so controversial? If a birth mother is strong enough to make the monumental decision to place her baby then she is strong enough to say yes or no to delivery room spectators”. Amen, Chosen Child, Amen
      Thank you, Dawn, for you comment in 35. I support the Bmom (and even the BM) having private time to bond with her child and do not feel that PAP’s should be in the delivery room-too many cooks, as they say. Too many people who are not medically necessary to be in the room could cause complications (but not the ones that the authors of this study have conjured up) for the mother and child. But I will stand by my previous statement-if a bmom has gone through the steps necessary to initiate an adoption so much that there is an actual PAP or couple waiting to be chosen to possibly raise her child, and she issues the invitation to these PAPs to be in the delivery room, that once again is her decision, one that she will have to own no matter what happens after. I agree that the bmom needs time to bond with her child, but if this child is going to in fact be raised by someone else, they will need time to bond with the child, too. And that time should not be denied or taken away from people who for all intents and purposes WILL be becoming parents through the act of adoption-even if they are unable to give birth.

      • Anonymous IF, while you make a point worth hearing in this discussion, when you throw around generalizations and negative stereotypes about expectant mothers who are considering adoption or mother who have chosen adoption for their child, you arguments are weakened and the focus is on your vitriol. Make your point, but leave out the put-downs.

    106. Snuggle Lee says:

      I am in Nova Scotia Canada, The process is much different here. The bio mom seeks out Social Services when she wants to explore relinquishment and adoption – that sets in motion a lot of services to come her way. From there the mother meets the foster mother who will care for her baby for the required 17 days. She will also begin to look through profiles of couples who have completed home studies and are waiting. She will be given a lawyer, access to counselling if she chooses and transportation to medical appointments if needed, After she chooses the adoptive parents for her baby they are not notified until day 16. Day 17 the birth mother spends at least 3 hours with the adoption attorney being informed of the process, her rights and the finality if her decision.

    107. Cassi says:

      I have strayed from the main topic, I do realize . . .

      I was one of those pregnant mothers who asked for my son’s adoptive mother to be in the delivery room with me and to spend time at the hospital after his birth.

      I asked, because I didn’t know any better. Because my adoption counselor stressed to me how much “better” it was for my son to have them there. Have his mom as a part of the delivery.

      I didn’t know, didn’t have any clue, how it would affect me to have her be a part of something that was so personal, intimate between my son and I. I had no clue, that once I gave birth, all I would want was to keep and raise my child. That giving him up was the last thing I wanted for him.

      And I certainly didn’t know that the adoption industry, itself, had already figured out that the more an expectant mother sees how “happy” the hopeful couple is to have a child of their own, the less likely she is to change her mind.

      I wanted my son more than anything but I felt like a monster for even considering “hurting” his adoptive parents after I witnessed how happy they were during delivery and while at the hospital.

      Now, after wonderful therapy, healing and lots of time and research into the adoption industry and how it works, I know my son and I deserved to protected from such coercive tactics. To even suggest that because some mothers might not feel coerced by such actions is reason enough to do nothing is so very wrong.

      The fact of the matter is, by protecting mothers during such a personal, intimate time, the only ones who will truly “lose” is the hopeful adoptive parents. And since the birth of a child is not between them but is, instead, between a mother and her child, there isn’t enough reason, in my opinion, to continue to turn a blind eye to the damage this practice causes so many.

    108. Cassi says:

      I would never suggest to any adoptee that they must believe in or admit to suffering from a Primal Wound. But I sure as heck wouldn’t criticize, mock or insult those who not only can relate to it but have also found great healing in reading the book. It is an insult, in my opinion, for anyone to pull out the “propoganda” card against something that is a very real pain for many. I can’t help but wonder how many more adoptees must have the courage to stand up and speak out about their pain and loss and how it relates to the Primal Wound before others finally stop trying so hard to cast doubt or find excuses for something that is, obviously, real for many.

      I have a feeling, for the adoptive parents here who don’t believe in the loss and pain of the Primal Wound, have a much different reaction when the tables are turned and others try to deny their own pain and loss of infertility.

      Just because you haven’t experienced it, doesn’t make it untrue for those that have.

    109. cb says:

      “Thanks CB. Good point about other countries. I know that Australia has been criticized because of adding another disruption (foster/cradle care) but if I remember correctly it isn’t for a very long time. Bottle-washer posted about a 17 day period (didn’t mention country) and her concern as the care taker during those 17 days of disrupted attachment. However, it makes sense to look to other countries to see if their system is better for all of the adoption triad–especially the kids.”

      Dawn, the lead up to the adoption may also be different in different countries which might make a difference in the eventual outcome. I deliberately included NZ because it does have a fairly high rate of adoption for its small size.

    110. cb says:

      “First of all, my thanks to Dawn for welcoming this discussion I had with Nancy, which she surely realized would be controversial. I had forgotten what lively discussion / debate emerges in the discussion of adoption issues! I appreciate all of you who have taken the time and thought to share your positions and opinions. ”

      Marcy, although I’ve deliberately never read the Primal Wound, I did enjoy this article you wrote:

      http://forums.adoption.com/media-adoptees/107046-article-marcy-axness.html

      As one can also see, the article started a long thread on a discussion of the PW by adoptees – one can see the differing views by a varied group of adoptees. On the whole,when adoptees discuss the PW, one often gets an interesting discussion 🙂

      Btw a while ago, I came across this “Adopted person resource” which was written for a NZ conference a while ago:

      http://adoptionnz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Adopted-Person-Resource-2000-2.pdf

      Warning – it is over 100 pages long!

      It is mostly made up of quotes by many adoption writers – yes it does include NV ut it also includes Betty Lifton, Marlou Russell, Brodzinsky, Heather Carlini.

      Even though it says “Adopted Person Resource”, it does also talk about the loss that all members of the triad face – I felt that adoptive parents were treated very respectfully and no blame was put on them.

      Also, at the end, it does talk about “becoming whole”.

      I thought it was a good read. Not evreything applied to me. I am one of 4 adoptees in my family so I know we are all different and I thought some things applied to them and not me and others didn’t apply to any of us. I think if people are going to read – they should think it more as *if* their adoptee is hurting, then the resource might provide insght into why. If their adoptee isn’t hurting, then they can ignore those parts. Note also that it is probably directed mostly at adoptees from the 50s-70s and it is talking about NZ. It is like when I read the bits about the bparents and aparents – it doesn’t all apply to every bparent and aparents but it can give an insight into the minds of some bparents and parents.

    111. cb says:

      “Janice, you raise an interesting idea. You’re right that it would avoid some of the potential complication, but I think it might introduce other complications. Wouldn’t the mom feel like a decision would have to be made quickly. She also wouldn’t have the option of getting to know the prospective adoptive parents. That doesn’t always happen in pre-adoption period where there has been a match, so maybe that isn’t a huge deal. So many issues with adoption are hard to solve with a one size fits all solution. Your idea is one I’m going to ponder on.”

      Dawn, perhaps it might be worth looking at how other countries do domestic adoption, including Canada, NZ, Australia etc. I think Canada does prebirth matching but there seems to be less pressure. In Australia, the bparents chose the parents but after the birth (they can either care for the child or it can go to cradle care (where they can seethe child when they want). In NZ, it looks like one can chose the family on paper before the child is born but don’t meet them until afterwards:

      http://www.cyf.govt.nz/adoption/placing-your-child-for-adoption/index.html

      • Thanks CB. Good point about other countries. I know that Australia has been criticized because of adding another disruption (foster/cradle care) but if I remember correctly it isn’t for a very long time. Bottle-washer posted about a 17 day period (didn’t mention country) and her concern as the care taker during those 17 days of disrupted attachment. However, it makes sense to look to other countries to see if their system is better for all of the adoption triad–especially the kids.

    112. cb says:

      “The question most people are discussing is what is appropriate when the expectant mother asks for or wants the parents that she thinks she is entrusting with her child to be in the room the moment the baby enters the world. Is that appropriate?”

      I have heard quite a few bmothers say that, at the time, they wanted the APs in the room but that later, they wish they had had that time alone. I think also that sometimes the PAPs can place more importance on the cutting of the cord, i.e. they can feel that if they have cut the cord, that makes the child theirs (note I said “some” not “all”).

      I think also that one of the problems is that those who do want the APs in the room may have already spent months thinking of the PAPs as the “parents”. I don’t think this is in the best initerest of the chid and a good agency cousnellor would make sure that the emom is fully invested in making a decision for HER child right up until after the birth and discourage them thinking of the child as belonging to the APs. I understand that type of disassociation is a coping mechanism but it is not in the bestinterest of the child because if she starts thinking of the child as belonging to the APs, the emom indvertantly starts making decisions “in the best of the PAPs”. Some agencies/facilitators do encourage this thinking precisely because it does make an adoption “more likely”.

      Another reason that eparents can tell the PAPs that the child is theirs and talk about the child as theirs is that they feel that doing so with “tie” the PAPs to them and stop them from “straying” but I do agree that that isn’t fair on the PAPs. Again, a good agency counsellor will discourage that behaviour and make sure that both parties are don’t promise things – a good counsellor is aware that many eparents will feel differently after a birth as it is when abstract becomes real.

      Anther thing that many bmothers have complained about, even the ones most content with their decision, is that they felt that they were not counselled re their actual life siuation. I know that one very pro-adoption bmother has said that she didn’t have a crisis pregnancy, she became pregnant during a crisis situation and even she said that the actual crisis was never properly addressed. All emoms deserve proper pastoral care to get them to a place where they can make a decision without being too much “behind the 8 ball”. I admit that I sometimes find it bizarre when people say to a “wavering” emom that she should remember why she considered adoption in the first place because surely if it is extrinsic circumstances that have lead her to consider adoption, then those extrinsic circumstances should be addressed.

      Another reason emoms may start thinking of the child as belonging to the APs is because somehow along the way, a counsellor may have made them believe that a person who wants to parent their own child purely because they are the ones that are giving birth to that child is guilty of bioelitism.

      As for myself, as much as I love my parents, I am glad they weren’t in the delivery room. I am glad that my relinquishment was separate to my adoption. I just think that they should be two separate acts. I just feel that boundaries can be crossed a bit too much during some matches. Matches may work if there is a good counsellor who keeps the eparents and PAPs eyes on what truly is best for the child but that isn’t always the case.

    113. Corabelle says:

      Nope HAP’s have no business in the delivery room or hospital, it may not but absolutely has the potential to be coercive and therefore should be avoided. Mothers that want the HAP’s there should be “counseled” as to why it is possibly a bad idea just as they are “counseled” as to why it will be so great to give away their child.

      I find it incredibly telling that so AP’s here commented about how they don’t believe that it’s damaging to separate baby from mom so quickly. There’s reasons that in normal natural births today babies are no longer rushed away and kept in the nursery like they use to be and the reason is it’s bad for baby and momma. I guess if you haven’t been through a normal vaginal delivery lately you wouldn’t know that as long as mom and baby are doing well it’s almost impossible to get the nurses to take the baby to the nursery. They tell you no the baby needs to stay with you in your room. Of course in c-sections or other complicated births or with adoption that’s different, but I’m pretty sure they’re pushing for baby and mom to spend as much time together as soon as possible because it is in fact very important.

    114. I just want to point out (for example re: bird’s suggestion that I had an agenda) that the text of this came from an extensive conversation that was transcribed. I actually never asked Nancy that specific question; we were talking about a whole raft of topics, including the relationship between a pregnant woman contemplating adoption and prospective adoptive parents. Dawn has chosen to arrange the content differently than the conversation actually unfolded, which may give the appearance of an agenda.

      I would second what Dawn has just said–we can do the most good… for ourselves and for others working through these issues… when we don’t generalize about any certain group of people (adoptive parents, birth parents), even if we feel truly justified in doing so (e.g., if we have been victimized or traumatized through our own personal experience with someone from that group).

      It has always been my hope in sharing material like this that it facilitates dialogue in ways that can help us connect, not divide!

      • Yes, I divided up the very long interview to focus the discussion (and because I figured few people would read it in its entirety). I apologize for any appearance of “agenda” that may have caused.

    115. Ariel says:

      Wow, I couldn’t even read all the adoptive parent perspectives. Against family preservation? Next we will be celebrating divorce. In fact that is exactly how one adoptee I read recently put it. In order to have an adoptive family they had to lose their birth family. No adoption happens without a family being split up and yet we ask adoptees to celebrate their adoption. Would we ask people to celebrate their divorce? I don’t think many people grow up to say I hope I’m divorced someday. Well children who are adopted are divorced from their mothers at birth and not just their mother’s but all her relatives and all the father’s as well. I marvel at all the reasons people give for why girl’s can’t parent but I don’t see many willing to help her. Should military widows give up their children when their soldiers die defending the country, they are single mother’s after all? Adoption should be a last resort and only for true orphans that don’t have extended family who can help out. If it’s really about the best for the child then they should be able to keep their birth identity and history and culture and all of that. It’s a part of who they are. Should adoptive couples be in the delivery room? I don’t think they should even meet a girl until after the baby is born. How can she fully understand that kind of bond and what separation from it will do to her or that child until then? It took me 12 years to begin the grieving process for my first born son who was adopted when I was 20. I dissociated so bad that I couldn’t form relationship with anyone, family, friends or otherwise for over a decade and this is common among mothers of adoption loss. Most delay grief 10-15 years and some never come to terms with it. To this day I struggle with letting any relationship get closer than I would be willing to hurt if it were lost. Luckily I was fortunate enough to meet a man who went through more trauma than me and therapy etc. to over come it that he was able to help me begin the journey as well. I’m still not close to my family and I keep friends at arms reach but I’m optimistic now that I’m working through trauma therapy. When you love someone that deeply, when a woman carrys a child inside her for 9 months and that bond is created it changes us. There are hormones and instincts that awaken that never go back to sleep. There is no deeper bond between humans than that of a mother and her child and yet we tell women they can go on like it never happened? That is a myth of the highest degree. I did everything in my power to move on. I went to college and graduated, I traveled, I have a successful career where I’ve been frequently promoted, I’m married going on 5 years etc. but the longer I’m separated from that son the more empty and desperate I feel. The only thing that helps is hope that one day I will see him again and there will be an end to our separation. I no longer believe in adoption and I was once a strong advocate for it. If I knew then what I know now about the pain involved that never ends and how it gets worse with time not better I never would have seen any benefit as worth it. I wouldn’t wish this torture on my worst enemy. How can I deny that kind of bond and allow other bonds to form? How can I let that one go and make any other bond important? I’ve tried many times and many failed relationship before meeting my husband. Someone who was also wounded by the adoption machine. I take comfort knowing that Jesus was raised by his birthmother and that his adoptive father was never seen as his real father. Joseph was granted a divine stewardship but it would be obscene to say God wasn’t the father of Jesus.

    116. Chosen Child says:

      Why does everything involving a woman’s right to choose become so controversial? If a birth mother is strong enough to make the monumental decision to place her baby then she is strong enough to say yes or no to delivery room spectators.

    117. Kym says:

      First of all, this question is worded wrong. They are not adoptive parents before the birth or during. At that time, they’re HAPs. As HAPs, they shouldn’t be in the delivery room during birth for the reasons listed – coercion, vulture tendencies, and this time is for the mother and baby.

      Some of the comments from APs and HAPs are too typical – “why can’t we have our cake AND eat it too – NO FAIR!”

      If it’s not fair, then birth your own baby.

      • Kym, after I read your comment, I felt as if we must be reading different comments, so I went back through the comments that had been posted up until this time. Of those posted by adoptive or pre-adoptive parents: 1 was all in favor of adoptive parents being in the delivery room, 5 were against adoptive parents being in the delivery room (some mentioning concerns about coercion), 8 thought that the birth mother’s wishes should be respected (and some of those talked about the risk of coercion), and 4 didn’t have an opinion on the question, but were questioning some of the “facts” in the argument. It left me wondering if you even read the comments or decided based on the title what would be said.

    118. Janice says:

      No, absolutely not! Potential adopters are not “parents” to the child until the mother decides to sign away her parental rights. After giving birth and having a chance to recover; the mother should then (and only then) go looking for potential adopters if it is still something she would like to do. Mother and baby (and father, if this is possible) need a chance to be together with one another without the pressure of those who are coveting the child hovering around them. It would also benefit potential adopters if the baby was actually relinquished before they become emotionally invested.

      • Janice, you raise an interesting idea. You’re right that it would avoid some of the potential complication, but I think it might introduce other complications. Wouldn’t the mom feel like a decision would have to be made quickly. She also wouldn’t have the option of getting to know the prospective adoptive parents. That doesn’t always happen in pre-adoption period where there has been a match, so maybe that isn’t a huge deal. So many issues with adoption are hard to solve with a one size fits all solution. Your idea is one I’m going to ponder on.

    119. Sharon F. says:

      It has become a social abnormality to interrupt the most precious of nature’s gifts… childbirth. Every midwife or nurse will tell you how important it is for mother and child to undergo childbirth as calmly and naturally as possible. Having APs standing there, supposedly assisting (hogwash) is inhuman. Inhuman. It just goes to show that as soon as a mother of loss or adoptee say otherwise, you have all dismissed it. The whole premise of adoption was to grant homes to orphans. If you are standing over a birthing mother during the most intimate of exeriences of her life, you are not caring for the mother or her child. You want to separate her from the beautiful natural experience of childbirth so that she does not bond. And that is inhuman. It is about the mothers and the babies. There are enough of us talking about how Nancie Verrier is spot on. Spot on. But none so deaf…

    120. bottle-washer says:

      Barbara, I’m very sorry for what you have gone through. There is absolutely no way your experience could happen here. There are just too many people keeping a close eye on you and caring for you and only you. As I mentioned above, birth mothers are not allowed to relinquish for 17 days. In that time you are in contact with social workers, lawyers and someone like me who has your baby for the interim. You would be welcome to come and visit here and and be given time and privacy with your baby. If I sensed that you were changing your mind I would definitely encourage you to be speak with your adoption worker. I have to say though, of the 58 newborns that have been placed here for adoptions only one mom changed her mind and took her baby home.

    121. I won’t pretend to be an expert on a newborn’s trauma or brain function, but as a birthmother myself who has spoken/ read/ known literally hundreds of other moms through the last decade, I can tell that for sure, having the hopeful adoptive parents in the delivery room and as part of the hospital experience DOES, however subtle, have an affect on the mother decision.

      Now, I DO also understand that there are expectant mothers that do WANT to have the HAP’s there and I understand that there are HAPs who DO play a part because of that desire and do so for the right reasons; however, the good intentions do not take away from the fact that it CAN and DOES influence the decision.

      I cannot tell you how many times I have heard anothe mother speak of after birth; how she realized that she didn’t want the HAPs there; how sometimes she felt slighted or pushed in the background, how she didn’t feel that she COULD speak up and ask them to leave, how she really WANTED to parent her child or at least explore that possibility, but that she was so afraid to disappoint the HAPS, how watching their joy and excitement over her child was something that she did not WANT to take away from them, how she felt like “changing her mind” would be mean and cruel and that “she could not do that to them”.

      I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have heard this more times then I could count.

      And it is a huge regret that many mothers have; that they did not speak up and have that time for themselves; that they felt the added pressure of being responsible for another couples happiness.

      I can tell you that it is easy in some ways for a mother to fall into that place. In a large part the adoption process is about a women learning to but herself and her on needs last. That’s is what the adoption process teaches a mother to do; everyone else’s needs become more important that her own wants and desires. She is commended by most involved for that very action; called brave and selfless. Of course it is natural for a mother to put her child’s needs first as that is a prime tenant of motherhood, so extending that priority to the HAPs is NOT a far stretch at all. She transfers her happiness onto them; their joy becomes what she receives positive feelings from. In deed that is what a birthmother is taught to console herself with post relinquishment; think about how happy this new family YOU created is, see how wonderful your child is, look at their smiles,she is loved so much.

      We often continue to keep ourselves last; we cannot intrude, interrupt, force contact, we don’t search until the adoptee is “ready”, we are afraid to ask for visits or updates, we don’t want to be seen as too demanding or crossing the boundaries. Always last, because making OUR needs important feels “selfish” and wrong.

      So even when all parties involved WANT to be there; I still think it is wrong. A mother considering adoption is in crisis and might want plenty of things or want to avoid feelings, but enabling her by giving into her desires isn’t always helping. Supporting a person doesn’t mean giving them everything that they want; it means helping them do the right thing. Plus expectant mothers DO look to the professionals for that guidance because mom does not have experience with adoption, but the professionals are the ones who do. We DO turn to them for guidance and then follow what they tell us is “best” or “how it is done” because we don’t know better and NEED that help. If she needs other support, then THAT should be the job of the non agency/ non biased. neutral counselor- either BE that support of help find it. The hospitals can help as the MOTHER ( and child) is their patient. And yes, a non affiliated, no biased doula could be there for the mother, but not the HAPs- not yet.

      Let her have her time with her child, let her make her decision based on the reality of that newborn, let her feel, let the hormones settle, let her heal some form the birth, not be exhausted, not have to deny her pain medications so she can sign the relinquishment when she is ready; not as soon as she is allowed by law.

      No, adoption is NOT just like giving birth and while I can understand the desire for HAPs to be there for those first moments, it feels fake, like let’s pretend we gave birth, You didn’t. And you will have the lifetime for that child; you get all the years filled with the memories- mom gets mere days if that – let her have them and then as HAPs, you can know that YOU did everything in your power to allow this mother to really make a decision. Of course, I AM generalizing and not every single mom will f, but we MUST have standards to go by; we MUST ensure that as much as possible is child centered and of the highest bar. And that means that we MUST change our accepted practices based on new information and advancements in understanding newborns. And if that makes things harder for professionals to do what they must or for HAPs to consider a child ” theirs” then so be it. The well being of a child is worth it. I just cannot ever imagine wanting to be in a place where you know you have to look your child in the eye and say “Well yes, it turned out your mother did want to keep you, but she was worried more about how we might be hurt, so she kept her mouth shut and now we are all so happy, right, so it’s OK”

      Truthfully, I would like to see a 6 week time frame before any legalities take place. The federal disability laws state that after a normal vaginal birth, a mother is disabled for those 6 weeks and cannot work. I don’t think she should be required to make a major life altering decision while still recovering. I don’t expect others to agree and to be concerned about where the child is at that time, but that my standard. The way I see it, if it is perfectly acceptable to adopt a 3 year from China, then a 6 week old baby is a pretty dern young enough.

      • Thanks Claudia for your thoughtful comment. You articulated well the concern about the subtle (or not so subtle) pressure that hopeful adoptive parents in the delivery room could place on a mom at such a vulnerable time in her life. I can totally understand your point.

        I can also understand your reasoning about needing time after birth to make a life altering decision, but I just don’t think it is in a child’s best interest to be in a foster home for 6 weeks (assuming the mom does not want to or cannot have the child during that time). While you are right that it does happen in international adoptions, that doesn’t mean it is good for kids. You were looking at it from the adoptive parents standpoint (if you adopt a 3 year old, you should be happy to adopt a 6 week old), but I think we should look at it from the child’s standpoint. Surely their is a place between being forced to make the decision immediately post birth to making the decision 6 weeks post birth that would give the mom time to give full consideration yet still gives the child permanence as soon as possible.

    122. Laurel says:

      Are you kidding me in these comments? If the situation is as you say it is, and that the expectant mom really has no one there to support her through the birth… Then find someone. You are telling me there is no one else in this world that can step in and help her through that doesn’t have an invested interest in taking the child for their own? The world is that heartless that everyone except you has turned their back on her?

      I have a hard time believing that. It seems opportunistic to just go anyway when so many mother’s experience state regret.

    123. bird says:

      Wow, talk about leading questions. The interviewer obviously has an agenda..

    124. bottle-washer says:

      I have an interim home for newborns. In my community a birth mother is not allowed to relinquish her baby for 17 days. We’ve had 58 newborns come and go and experienced every possible adoption scenario. But in all of them there are 3 moms. The birth mother, myself, and 17 days later, an adoptive mother. I worry more about Attachment Disorder than anything else. 3 moms in 3 weeks is a lot for a tiny baby to adjust to.

      • Bottle-Washer, I think you raise a very good point. At what point do the needs of the child trump the needs of either mother. I think they should trump from the very beginning. Babies need consistency.

    125. Alone & adopted says:

      Absolutely not! Nobody should be in the delivery room. Prospective adoptive parents should not be there like vultures to snatch that helpless baby! The mother and baby need to have bonding time and time to say goodbye. The adoptive parents didn’t bring that child into this world. Back up and give the rightful parents and baby some space. What pressure! No different that people gathering around someone that is dying and wanting to know what’s in it for me. How inhumane!

    126. Barbara Calchera says:

      NO! Hell no! This happened to me and it was IMPOSSIBLE to say I changed my mind. Too coercive. Adopters truly are a type of human predator. I have yet to meet one that isn’t.

      • Barbara, I’m truly sorry for your experience and the pain it caused you. You raise a good point about the potential for coercion. That is part of what we are discussing in these comments with some people, including some adoptive parents, agreeing with you.

        However, making generalizations, especially negative generalizations, about a large group of people is irresponsible. It would be no different than fostering the same stereotypes about other groups of people, including first moms. How does it feel when someone starts throwing around inaccurate and hurtful stereotypes to a group that you belong to. For example: “Birth mothers truly are all low-lifes who abandon their kids.” or “Birth moms are all promiscuous.” or “______ (fill in the blank with any other generalization that you and I have heard about first parents).” It is short-sighted and says more about you than about the group you are speaking of. If you haven’t met compassionate ethical adoptive parents, you haven’t tried very hard.

    127. Von says:

      It’s all very simple really, the mother should have time with her baby, as much as she needs. Given what we now know I’m surprised this is even a question.

      • Von, I don’t think that is the question here. I suspect everyone would agree with you. The question most people are discussing is what is appropriate when the expectant mother asks for or wants the parents that she thinks she is entrusting with her child to be in the room the moment the baby enters the world. Is that appropriate?

    128. Kristine A. says:

      I have mixed feelings about the interview. I personally as an adoptee, don’t like the concept of generalizing about all adoptees and extend that to expectant mothers, birthmothers and adoptive parents as well. What Dawnmarie shared was interesting about the memories of babies. I had met an adoption facilitator online who was a wonderful person and believed strongly that the first mother should stay with the baby for about 2 weeks after the birth… having a more gradual separation. (I believe that the baby, first mother and adoptive parents were all together for these two weeks). She said that the baby being taken from the bio mother abruptly affected the baby’s brain. It made sense to me that the baby would have a connection to the mother’s voice and smell from the womb and feel security from that after he/she was born, but I don’t know if abruptly removing the baby from it’s bio mother does cause temporary/permanent brain changes and if those changes result in issues (i.e. a “primal wound” as Nancy Verrier contends) or if it depends on each individual child. I tend to view that each adoptee is an individual and each individual responds to things differently. I do think expectant mothers are also individuals and that they can feel differently about having the potential adoptive parents in the delivery room. I think the hospital time truly is a hard time for expectant and potential adoptive parents (especially of course for the first mother). and it was both times for me as an adoptive mother although there were blessings too of being able to be there. (As an adoptee, it is neat to be able to hear even a little about your story in the hospital, and to be able to share with our children that we were there and the memories that we have is a special blessing)

    129. First of all, my thanks to Dawn for welcoming this discussion I had with Nancy, which she surely realized would be controversial. I had forgotten what lively discussion / debate emerges in the discussion of adoption issues! I appreciate all of you who have taken the time and thought to share your positions and opinions.

      In the case of an interview (or something more like an “overheard conversation” between two parties–an adopted person and an adoptive parent) I realize things get a little fuzzy differentiating who said what, who believes what, and who’s prescribing what. While Nancy would perhaps like to see all fields of eggplant (a metaphor for PAPs in the delivery room?) eradicated, I’m not prescribing anything; I simply wanted to open the discussion (back a few years ago when we did this). Part III of this series includes others (including adoptive parents and birth parents) weighing in on what Nancy Verrier set forth here.

      I have to smile and say that it’s a novel experience to be accused of propagandizing against adoptive parents; in the past on adoption forums I’ve been pilloried as an AP apologist! I’m truly neither; I’m a pragmatist who believes in finding what works to foster healthiest development in all parties (which is NOT one-size-fits-all, as Cara points out), while admittedly prioritizing the adoptee, who is the one party who has no say in having ended up in the situation.

      A BIG part of finding what works is understanding biological imperatives: how we are wired to develop, particularly at the level of neurobiology & brain development, and how that is impacted by stress or trauma. I’ve written extensively about the trauma of maternal-newborn separation, and indeed, as pointed out by Anonymous, this is NOT adoption-specific. Here’s a brief interview with a neonatologist discussing a positive approach to the reality of the consequences of separation–which has always been my stance: healing is *always* possible, and beyond that there is an innate drive with us (imho) toward healing. But we have to be willing to recognize what is really happening, and not some kind of romanticized version of reality. http://reache.info/conference-speakers/raylene-phillips-md-ibclc/

      The fact that so many of these issues are indeed universal and NOT adoption-specific is exactly why my experiences and learning in the adoption realm led me to do my doctorate in early human development and work with all kinds of parents. And while the scope of this blog doesn’t include the pre- and perinatal psychology research basis for the hotly-debated personal disclosure I shared, anyone who’s interested in how pre-verbal / pre-cognitive experiences are later processed & interpreted cognitively can check out http://www.birthpsychology.com. (And TAO, thanks for the snippet of P&P research.)

      I also have a chapter in a new textbook on women’s reproductive mental health, entitled “Pre- and Perinatal Influences on Female Mental Health,” which is fat with research citations. (Because it’s the opening chapter of the book, you can read a lot of it in Amazon’s “Look inside” feature.) http://www.amazon.com/Womens-Reproductive-Mental-Health-Lifespan/dp/3319051156

      Northern Star, I appreciate your wise observation that there are considerations and downsides, but positives as well. There are few processes/experiences as loaded with paradoxes as adoption. That’s what my intention was with this dialogue, to illuminate that, while also spotlighting what was (then, and clearly still now) a little-voiced perspective–the possible subtle coercive effects of intimate PAP involvement with a pregnant / birthing mother. (Just wait for the next installment, yikes!)

      Anon AP, I appreciate your input, which again highlights the very NOT black-and-whiteness of these issues. I do like your idea of an adoption doula, there in watchfulness for the baby’s best interests…which of course then brings us around (chasing our tail style?) to asking just what that is! I like your stance as a true skeptic (doubtful re: the science, yet open to asking the questions): a fruitful posture.

      This is a human puzzle, a (slowly) unfolding dilemma, a profound mystery, as adoption always has been.

    130. anonymous says:

      This interview assumes that moms are more important then dads. Breastfeeding can make the mother more important then the father. But I don’t think mothers are “naturally” more significant to a child then fathers.

      If a mother is very sick, recovering from a traumatic labor, and couldn’t take care of her child for the first few weeks…I don’t think the child would be traumatized if the father or grandmother took over primary care-taking while the mother recovered.

      Isn’t it somewhat sexist to suggest that a baby would be traumatized if the father took over primary care-taking?

      “I think of the sense of responsibility a baby might feel, with these extra people around, anticipating his arrival.”

      I’m fine with reading other people’s opinions about birth, but this statement is beyond flakey.

      Extended families bring cameras, flowers, cake and extended family in the hospital for the birth.

      Pretty sure the infant doesn’t feel responsible for hosting that party.

      Now, all this attention could traumatize the mom. But the interviewers don’t talk about mom’s needs — only the needs of the baby.

    131. foster adopt mama says:

      I know this is a serious topic, but I literally giggled at a few different points reading this exchange. What kind of therapy is needed if the infant is placed on the right, not left, breast? My mom asked to be knocked out during my birth (and when she woke up, I am pretty sure she had a cigarette and glass of wine while I was in the hospital nursery (wait, now I remember it… I was ANGRY! ha)). I am wondering how I ever muddled through.

    132. Christie says:

      In our case, our son and his birth mom were in the hospital for 4 days, and she only visited him once during that time. I knew then (as now) that it was extremely painful for her and her way of avoiding the pain was to avoid him. I am sure that my son heard some very difficult conversations in the womb. We weren’t present for the birth, but arrived soon after. I don’t know what happened in the delivery room except he was born via C-section which can have it’s own issues outside of any adoption related ones.

      I firmly believe that there is a disconnect for the baby with adoption. How that affects a child depends on the child.

      As we were trying to maintain as calm an environment as possible for our son, all of us (hospital staff, first parents, us) kept his older, active brother out of his room. I actually spent much time in the playroom down the hall due to that. It was only during the ceremony we had – that everyone was in the room with him. I still remember to this day, that despite how loud or whatever his older brother was it didn’t faze our son at all (unlike other loud noises). He was used to hearing that while in utero and so that was comforting and normal.

      I think that the blog, book, article, what have you – was written from a child centered ideal. In an ideal situation it would be like that. Time with mom after birth and with no outside pressures. However, we messy humans rarely live in an ideal world.

    133. marilynn says:

      Wow ya’ll might be really surprised that I think AnonymousIF made killer points and that all in all I have to agree with virtually every comment posted by an adoptive parent here so far. I generally think the primal wound is a bunch of hooey. Honestly what do any of us remember from our time as embryos huh? Or from our time as infants? I have seen a documentary about the development of the brain post birth and while it’s rapid, it ain’t that rapid. I know people say that babies turn their heads to the sound of their mother’s voice right after birth and all but I believe that an infant will attach to his or her primary caregivers post birth whether they are related to them or not. When this author said that she had therapy and that she recalled her feelings prior to birth about not wanting to come out I gave my eyes a big roll. I’m quite literal as you all know so maybe she meant figuratively the way people figuratively mean they conceived a child all by themselves or when they are 50 – but it’s just not true she can’t have memories of not wanting to come out due to a heightened sense of responsibility. Language is the vehicle for thought so how could she be thinking if she had no words to frame her thoughts.

      I know tons and tons of adopted people only one claims the primal wound and remembering his mother’s voice and that’s cool I just think he has talked himself into that memory either that or he uses more of his brain capacity than the vast majority of the population. From the baby’s standpoint I don’t think having the potential adoptive parents there is traumatizing at all. I agree with the author that they would be hoping that the parents will relinquish and there is likely a pressure to relinquish under those circumstances that – if I were adopting I would want to steer clear of. I would want to be 100% sure that nothing I said or did influenced the separation of a person from their family. I’d want to come along after that separation was a full done deal so I could look that kid square in the eye and say that their parent’s decision to relinquish had nothing to do with my desire to adopt. I agree with some of the comments that said how f’d it would be if they were invited and then later blamed. I’d just want to avoid that entirely so nobody could EVER imply that I wanted the kid to be given up for adoption or not kept. I’d want to be showing up and adopting because the situation was serving to provide the kid with something they needed had lost already. Last thing I’d want is to orchestrate it or leave room for anyone to make me think it was safe to go then later feel like my presence was coercion.

      Do they belong there? No like they don’t OWE it to the kid to be there the way the individuals who created them owe it to them. That’s what I think the primal wound thing misses on trying to describe. Later when the brain does work and process things logically there comes the knowledge that the world requires people to take care of their kids it obligates them and most people want to take care of their kids. Heck forget just taking care of their kids, lots of people want to take care of other people’s kids too! For Pete sake they are adopted people care so much about taking care of kids so I think the brain goes WTF what happened don’t I deserve the care and attention of the people who made me? I think a whole thing comes into play about being worthy of their love and attention and the fact that really they are owed it still they are entitled to it still. So I don’t think that is primal wound pre birth smelling stuff it’s just plain logic they deserve something they did not get and they want to know they are worthy of getting it.

      So its probably not traumatizing for the kid to have the PAPS there. It might be a sore spot later on though if their mother regrets giving them up and she did ultimately feel pressured by the presence of the PAPS dispite inviting them and even subtle statements by their mother that imply their parents might not have given them up had their adoptive parents not been there can be enough to make the kid want to blame the adoptive parent for having pushed their separation from their family. I know lots of adopted people and I think any resentment comes along later whenever there is even an inkling that the adoptive parent wanted them not to be kept by their parents. Obviously there is no escaping it raising donor offspring but people who adopt do have opportunities to just not have to deal with that crap over their head.

      I think the adoptive parents stories about being present posted here were pretty sincere. It also sounds as if a case could be made for their presence being to serve the child they adopted especially if their mother had nobody else to coach through birth and was alone or was super disconnected. It may well have been in the kids interest to at least bond with someone if Mom was too disconnected. She owed it to the kid though and not getting what they deserve is where the injustice and sadness might come from not because they were not placed on the left tit. It’s just I think way more practical and logical than the author describes but her feelings are valid even if not grounded in science.

    134. TAO says:

      I don’t think we remember birth, but I think the stress hormones both the babies and the mother’s play a part in our development and the separation is felt. I do believe there is bonding in the womb. There was a recent study published about the third trimester, a mother read a poem each day for a set period of time, and then not read for three weeks – the babes heart rate slowed when the poem was again read by the mother, but not when by a female stranger.

    135. Greg says:

      “I was recently asked if I would want to be in the delivery room. It’s a resounding NO for me. There’s no way I want to witness any birth unless I’m the one giving birth, and I wouldn’t want an expectant mom to have to worry about a virtual stranger in her room during delivery. ”

      I agree with you. To me the birth of the child is something that the expectant mother should experience on their own. There are plenty of moments in that child’s life that the parents will experience that the birth mother won’t be there for, let this one moment be between the woman and the child she gave birth to. Plus you don’t want the woman to be pressured even further of placing because if she didn’t it would devastate the PAPs.

      I think it benefits all parties for the PAPs to not be in the delivery room.

    136. Joyce Garber says:

      I am old enough to be of the seperate immediately from birth mom generation. I. am also a twin so I was seperated from him although gratefully we were adopted together. that would have been a second crushing blow to have lost him too. my birth mother also already had children in the system so relinquishing was not really a choice for her.. I found her later in life and know a lot more about the whole story now than I did as a kid. I remember the sensation of always looking for her. Especially as I got closer to puberty. I didnt know what she looked liked only that she was part cherokee. I thought I knew her approximate age but I had been misled. my adoptive mom was very giving of information but refused to answer questions. I learned that she had built a comfortable story for herself. and questions wrankled. later in therapy the hardest part of the hospital nursery scenario, where I spent 6 weeks without John was just a profound, almost cellular sense of isolation. Profound aloneness and no sense that my cries were met with any kind of reponse.

    137. Robyn C says:

      I don’t think that PAPs belong in the delivery room, but for very different reasons.

      Verrier’s theories are just that – theories. There’s no medical or scientific evidence to support that. I really hate that “all adopted babies are traumatized” crap. And a baby feeling responsibility to the people in the room? That’s just adults ascribing adult behavior that cannot possibly describe what a newborn is capable of thinking or feeling.

      I don’t think PAPs belong in the delivery room because it’s such an emotionally charged time. The time in the hospital belongs to the new mother (or parents). Our son’s birthmom wanted us there. She even called us when we didn’t come in first thing one morning asking where we were. But, later, she realized that she should have savored that time as hers. So, when DD’s birthmom didn’t want us at the hospital at all, we were fine with that.

      Forcing a woman to parent and nurse for a week is unacceptable. Not all women, whether they parent or not, are willing or able to nurse as it is. I do think that the time between birth and the earliest a woman can sign TPR should be seen and advertised as a MINIMUM. That is, it’s not “You have 2 days to sign TPR” but “You can’t sign TPR until 2 days after the baby is born, but you can take as long as you want.”

    138. Christi says:

      I also have a serious problem with anyone who is adamant about anything as to say their personal perspective is the only way things should happen for everyone. By that theory, I’m the self-proclaimed expert and eggplant is the most vile vegetable in the world, and all fields of it should be burned. Ok, extreme, right? But it’s the same principle. Also, it’s pretty condescending to say that someone only ‘thinks’ they know how they feel. I understand that she may have a lot of experience with speaking with birth parents who do regret some or even all of their decisions, but that doesn’t mean she is the ultimate authority on what is right for every birth parent. To force her opinion, professional or otherwise, on anyone else is really irresponsible and disrespectful.

    139. What about the birthing process itself? Is it wrong to support a woman in labour, someone experiencing something terrifying and painful? Should no one be there to hold her hand, wipe her forehead, give her encouraging words? I don’t believe someone should have to go through that alone if they ask you to be there with them.

      Everyone needs support. Adoptive parents in the delivery room, should the birth mother ask for this, doesn’t have to be an experience linked with all things negative. There may be considerations and downsides, but there can be positives too.

    140. Lynne W says:

      I think that the decision should be left to the birthmother. My best friend has already decided that we will adopt her next child, should she become pregnant again before her current kids are older (She’s the poster child for birth control failure!). She wants my husband and I in the room, so the immediate skin-to-skin contact will be between the baby and me. (We also hope to induce lactation so I can breastfeed) Granted, our situation is a little different, but the immediate bonds between children and their parents start at birth. If the BM wants them in the room, then they can be in the room. But I’m one of those people who feels that no one should say that there’s only one way to do something right. It’s not a random person’s decision. Whatever the BM decides shouldn’t be forced on her by people outside the situation.
      As for Dawn’s comment about babies being immediately removed from their mothers – I hate that. Women have been having babies for as long as humans have been alive. And they’ve done a great job without modern medicine – so unless there is extreme concern that something is wrong with baby, why should they be swept away and kept in a nursery instead of being with mom (whether birth or adoptive)? If mom wants, leave the slimy adorableness that is a newborn alone with mom for a while. Let baby calm down from the ordeal that is birth. Then you can wash off the gunk 🙂

    141. Geochick says:

      I was recently asked if I would want to be in the delivery room. It’s a resounding NO for me. There’s no way I want to witness any birth unless I’m the one giving birth, and I wouldn’t want an expectant mom to have to worry about a virtual stranger in her room during delivery. While I don’t wholly ascribe to Nancy Verrier’s theories about the Primal Wound, I believe there is trauma in separating a baby from their mother that adoptive parents can’t fully overcome no matter how well they are prepared.

    142. Anon AP says:

      It’s really hard to not go digging into the stated psychological/scientific details on this one. By god I love a good factcheck…But! The bits and pieces aren’t really the point here. In essence we have two people sharing with each other that the circumstances of their birth play a huge role in their lives and how they feel about adoption. If we start digging and critiquing the facts behind the statements, we may lose the focus on what is really, to me anyway, the important bit: this is about values and respect. Whether children are physically and emotionally traumatized or not upon removal from the mother at birth and the mechanisms by which that could occur and manifest is an interesting question – and one highly relevant for developing appropriate treatment methods for medically-fragile newborns as well as adoptees – it ultimately doesn’t matter for the value of what the interviewee is saying. Recognizing that the details of that day may be important for the baby as he or she becomes an adult and that we all should be comfortable in our minds that we have acted ethically and in the best interests of the child and the expectant and birthparents is really important, and even if done well, there’s still a loss of connection that may be felt by that infant over the course of a lifetime.

      I do think PAPs in the delivery room can introduce coercion or at least a reluctance to push one’s wishes if the delivering mom changes her mind about having company at 5 cm dilation, and I can also believe that sometimes their presence can be reassuring. I personally drop back to seeing this as a need for a counselor or doula onsite who is truly acting in the interest of the expectant parent(s) and child and who can act as a buffer or intervention artist if the PAPs need to leave at any point.

    143. Justin says:

      I second your statement, Anonymous IF (1).
      The idea that a baby is traumatized due to the mere presence of the adoptive parents in the delivery room is ridiculous. Statements like “I think of the sense of responsibility a baby might feel, with these extra people around, anticipating his arrival. and “witnessing is participating” are utter nonsense, since a newborn does not have the cognitive capacity to differentiate between his potential adoptive parents and the nurses in that room. Are all babies traumatized by the nurses, doctors and midwives?

    144. Cara says:

      This article irritates me on so many levels. Adoption is not a one size fits all experience. Primal Wound Theory is controversial at best. I don’t give credence to it. My older brother is an adoptee.My husband and I were a designated adoption. Our birth mother, whom I refer to always as my friend first, wanted us in the delivery room. I got to cut the cord. We made plans on who got to hold our daughter first (hubby), second (my friend), then me. My friend is the type to make quick decisions and move forward. There was relief when we went to court to terminate rights 4 days after delivery. We stayed a week with her parents after our daughters birth. After that, it was getting hard for her to move forward with us there. No adoption or rights termination happen in the delivery room. To even suggest that is true, is propaganda for the sake of Primal Wound Theory. I would rather hear from birth moms and adoptive parents experiences across the country on what they find helpful or a hindrance to their states treatment of all parties involved. As for expectations on our daughter, yeah here is what we had/have for her: You will be loved by more family you can shake a stick at. You can be what you want to be.

    145. Also, the point about the baby being placed directly on the mom’s left breast to decrease the stress of birth – I’m sorry but there are MANY births that are not headed to adoption that don’t have that happen. I know in my son’s birth – same bmom as my daughter – she was hemoraghing horribly and they almost lost her, almost had to do emergency surgery. He was not on her breast, he wasn’t anywhere near her. He was whisked away to the nursery. The only reason my daughter had any interaction after her birth was because we were there. After the csection, mom was taken to recovery. I think NV is forgetting that many births in America today rightly or wrongly are csection. And that doesn’t allow for the type of post delivery cuddles she thinks are neccessary. By her description, most babies in America must be traumatized even going home with their biological families. It’s this type of statement that is so extreme that makes it hard to accept the rest of her premise.

    146. I was in the room when my daughter was born. But I was completely focused on supporting mom as she didn’t have anyone else to be there with her, bdad was home taking care of the other kids. I ended up being her advocate when the drs wanted to give her pain meds and she was refusing. I was able to share why she didn’t want them (she had told me) and to help them find a way to manage her pain while still meeting her needs. The dr had to tell me twice to stand up and take a picture. I was so focused on her, I wasn’t thinking about taking pictures (she had a csection). I followed her instructions to the letter. I stayed with the baby in her room until they got her back from recovery and then I left as she had requested that time to be with the baby alone. I think it can be fine to be there but you need to be concerned with her needs not yours at that time and not everyone can do that.

    147. Mani says:

      Our son’s birth mother really wanted me in the delivery room with her (c-section). Unfortunately, we missed the birth by a few hours because our son came early. His birth mom was distressed not to have my support in the delivery room and quite relieved when we finally arrived. She didn’t have any other support and thought of me sort of like a big sister at the time. I wish I could have been there for both her and my son. It will always pain me a bit that I wasn’t.

      Also, I will add that there is NO WAY my son’s birth mother would have been willing to parent and nurse for a week. She didn’t even want to spend time with him, initially. I had to really encourage that. And when she and our son were discharged, we got her a hotel room next to ours so she could spend time with our son. She chose to spend time with an ex-boyfriend instead. We let her know that we would be comfortable – even happy – if she chose to nurse, and she was adamantly against that idea! You can’t force people to parent – even for a week.

    148. anonymous says:

      “When all this does not happen, the baby goes into shock, which is nature’s way of dealing with trauma. All adoptive parents are dealing with traumatized babies.”

      Is the author suggesting that all babies born via C-Section go into shock and are traumatized? Babies don’t remain with the mother while she being sown up. It’s takes a while.

      I’d like to hear from a specialist in infant brain neurology on these issues.

      • Anonymous, not that many years ago (OK- maybe 50) the norm in the US was for babies to be immediately removed from their mothers immediately after birth. Since most women didn’t nurse, they might only see the baby for a few hours a day while in the hospital. I would assume that several generations of people experienced this shock.

    149. Anonymous IF says:

      To answer the question-I believe that if the Emom wishes the PAP’s to be in the room, the PAP’s should not feel ashamed to partake in an event that might mark the beginning of THEIR relationship with THEIR potential future child. And before you all jump down my throat, I know that the child does not become the PAP’s child until the Emom relinquishes her parental rights, but since she has initiated the potential adoption that has involved these PAP’s in her life and the life of her child up to this point, if she invites them to be there, they are only there because she invited them to be part of this situation. If the Emom doesn’t want the PAP’s there, then she needs to be a grown up and make her wishes known in a way that doesn’t string the PAP’s along in any way. If she doesn’t want the PAP’s there-fine, say so, but don’t invite the PAP’s to be there and then cry coercion when all is said and done. Another question this blog post raises for me-if it’s not appropriate for the PAP’s to be in the delivery room-when is it appropriate for the PAP’s to be allowed to bond with THEIR child once it has been determined that they have the Bmom’s permission to take on a parenting role in the child’s life? And would this bonding period be as equally respected by everyone-by which I mean would the now AP’s be given appropriate private space within which to bond with THEIR child, without fear of being harassed or interfered with by the Bmom during that time. Or is “open adoption” code word for “bioelitist double standard” in this case? Sorry to be so angry in this post, but this blog post struck a nerve with me that has been irritated for far too long by Family preservation attitudes and propaganda. If I were considering adoption, I would respect the Emom’s choice to have me and my spouse in the delivery room-if she didn’t want us there, I wouldn’t push it, but I also wouldn’t allow any emom to emotionally blackmail me for taking her at her word if she did invite us to be a part of the birth. I may be a PWI, but I do have a certain degree of self respect, as well as respect for others. It has to be a 2 way street, especially in adoption.

    150. Anonymous IF says:

      (I added the IF to my name to my name to distinguish myself from others who also use the term anonymous, and will hopefully do so from now on)
      This blog post is Family Preservation propaganda at its finest-the only thing missing is the term “adoptoraptor” for the “snatching” PAP’s-perhaps the authors were too polite to use such a term, but it’s there all the same. Deeply disappointed in CAF for giving such propaganda a platform. Will look forward to more balanced blog posts in the future.

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