A young mother with few resources, exhausted from labor, and facing a moral conflict between her maternal instincts and her previous promises, is in no position to offer informed consent to an adoption. In Australia, where infant adoption is neither profitable nor encouraged, such a situation would be viewed as wildly inappropriate and coercive. It is.
While circumstances have changed since the first era of forced adoptions, the institution is still plagued by ethical issues surrounding consent and coercion. As conservatives move to limit access to abortion, deny women birth control, defund Medicaid and family services, and declare that single parenthood is child abuse, the United States is barely a step away from a new Baby Scoop Era. Women simply cannot afford to pretend that adoption coercion ended in the 80s. Tactics may have changed, but the results are the same. Generations from now, this era will be as much a black mark on our history as the last.
The 5 Most Coercive Aspects of Modern Adoption – Jessica DelBalzo – Open Salon.
Little to disagree with here and much to agree with and to work towards achieving. While the adoption industry is largely unregulated, has no consistency, is based on the profit motive and does not have at it’s heart the rights and welfare of children, we will continue to see in America an unethical system of baby harvesting. Not only will this time be looked upon as another era of adoption coercion but it will be seen as one in which the tactics changed but were even more abusive to babies and mothers. The list of how this is so is very extensive, far more extensive than in the previous eras. For mothers and adoptees, many of these things on the list are only too familiar and strike deep at our unease and our fears for the future of those who are the targets of the adoption industry. Currently, despite their acknowledged pain and loss, many young mothers comfort themselves with the ideas presented to them by the adoption industry – that adoption is the responsible, loving option and they are unfit mothers because of their age, their ambitions, their situation or their current abilities.
It seems to be forgotten that all first time mothers are generally inexperienced, have a great deal to learn about parenting and may have to adapt to difficult circumstances or situations, even to completely new and unexpected birthing experiences and outcomes. If they are lucky they have support and are assisted and given time to adjust to their new role, new responsibilities and new experiences which may be unfamiliar, frightening or daunting. For instance the mother who births a baby who has Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida or a rare condition will have extra adjustment tasks and difficult emotions to deal with. Most achieve what they need, to parent successfully, sometimes with outstanding results. How many times have you heard stories of parents who were told their child would never walk, talk or achieve anything in life ? They and their children time and again prove doctors wrong and with an inability to make accurate predictions. You’ve probably all read the story of the mother who delivered twins early. The girl was healthy and the boy pronounced dead. He was brought to the parents to grieve over and to bond with in death. After two hours he was pronounced alive because he had begun to breathe and to recover from the trauma of his birth and separation from his twin and mother. It wasn’t a miracle, it was what happens ‘normally’ if birth and the birth process is understood and the important role of closeness, bonding and familiarity is respected and acted upon swiftly.
It seems we so rarely take seriously that bonding between mother and baby and in modern adoption it is treated with brutality, serious disrespect and a cynical lack of care for the baby who is often removed immediately after birth when the misguided think s/he will bond with the adopters instead if s/he is not permitted to bond with the mother. That time for mother and baby post birth is sacred and may form a foundation for the child that will carry her/him through some of the difficult times ahead. Those adopters who see it as a right to be with the mother at the birth and are permitted to do so are doing the other people involved a grave disservice, they are being intrusive, interfering with a process which ultimately benefits all.
I digress. The status of a mother has little to do with her abilities as a mother. The support she gets, the understanding, the empathy for her new situation and her acceptance into The Union Of Mothers with all that entails should be available to all mothers regardless. Mothers without partners may need extra support, specific kinds of support for a time but may be well able to become just as good at mothering as any other woman. Some young mothers have shown themselves to be outstanding mothers and just need the recognition, some support and for their wishes and goals to be taken seriously, respected and supported. They may need some assistance to finish their schooling and for a time some financial help until they establish themselves as wage earners and providers. All they need is the opportunity.
We see some tragic situations with married or partnered mothers with other children, who believe they have to give up a baby for adoption because they will not be able to support another or feed another mouth. If you have children already it would once have been considered that you were well set up because you had all the equipment necessary and would breastfeed so that costs were low, even nil. It would have been impossible for a family to consider giving away/selling/abandoning/discarding a family member. Whatever happened to that responsibility to blood relations, the sense of family, the connections and the importance of children being raised by their parents whatever the circumstances and often despite them? The mother who not once but twice gave sons for adoption because she felt she was not in the right place in her relationship, one which lasted and continues, has heads shaking and is for some of us a complete mystery. Family life surely isn’t a choice between family members, a selection process in which some win and some lose?