Press Release Summary = Richmond, VA November 1, 2006 - Origins USA , a natural family preservation group consisting of people separated by adoption, warns that November should be National Adoption BEWARE-ness month because a large number of people are lured into adoption surrender without being given accurate information regarding the after effects of surrendering an infant.
Press Release Body = November became National Adoption Awareness Month in 1990. Although "the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care," November is generally a media-hyped month of various activities, celebrations, and heartwarming stories about all adoptions.
From Cookie Monster on Martha Stewart, to National Adoption Day on Nov. 2 (when many adoptions are finalized in courtrooms with much joy and fan fair), to a television ad campaign by the adoption lobby group the National Council for Adoption, Americans will be subjected to a wide variety of propaganda, both local and nationwide, promoting the wonders of adoption. This has the cumulative effect of convincing the public that adoption is a great win-win, "loving option." Billboards and television ads, designed to convince a young woman to have her baby and "help build a family," will feed the supply of babies by enticing vulnerable women to find their way to any one of the thousands of unregulated agencies in this country.
Truth in advertising does not carry over to adoption. What will not be advertised and promoted are the risks and long-term ramifications for both the surrendering mother and her child who is targeted for adoption. The real facts of adoption surrender often result in a decreased supply of babies as mothers learn that it is not a "win win" solution as publicized. Agencies and "professionals" who benefit monetarily do not want the dark sides of adoption to be known. They fight hard to keep those sad facts under lock and key. "In time the feelings of sadness will be replaced with a sense of peace." This is the worn mantra of most agencies. Evidence, both anecdotal and scientifically researched, has shown this to be untrue: "Relinquishers perceive adoption as a lifelong process, and their lives are profoundly changed by the loss of the child (Davis, 1994; Lauderdale & Boyle, 1994). A variety of long-term responses to the process of relinquishment have been found to result from the prolongation of the grief reaction. These long-term responses include psychological, physical, and relational problems (Davis, 1994; Tennyson, 1988)." Clearly there is a definite conflict between what the agencies are claiming and what the actual possible outcomes might be according to real studies. Denying known consequences to mothers who are considering surrender robs them of a chance to make a truly informed choice that they can live with for the rest of their lives. "You will grieve the loss of your child and that grief can be painful. However, the ability to grieve is a sign of mental health, and healing will come in time." as states one agency, says nothing of the other long-term risks of surrender. "The relinquishment experience also influences the woman\'s overall health. If the intense grief reaction becomes prolonged, it may manifest itself in psychosomatic complaints as well as secondary illness (Blanton & Deschner, 1990; Condon, 1986). These physical responses include recurrent gynecologic infections, frequent or severe headaches, somatic symptoms, and sexual difficulties" (Blanton & Deschner, 1990; Burnell & Norfleet, 1979; Millen & Roll, 1985; Rynearson, 1982). While surrendering mothers are expected to experience some grief, they are wrongly advised that with the right counseling they can avoid these painful after effects.
Many agencies advise surrendering mothers that they can "always have other children later" when they are better able to parent. What is not disclosed is that the very act of surrendering her child could very well make later pregnancies difficult if not impossible. "Secondary infertility also may be a problem." (Deykin et al., 1984; Lancette & McClure, 1992). Secondary, unexplained infertility can be attributed to as many as 40% to 60% (Verrier) of surrendering mothers, making it 170% ( Deykin et al., 1984) more likely to affect surrendering mothers, far greater than the general population rates. Denying this important piece of information allows an agency to enable a considering mother to think that she has the power to have the kind of future she wants, rather than helping her understand that she might be surrendering her only chance for motherhood.
Also ignored by the agencies is the reality of "open adoption." Open adoption is frequently used as a lure to enable mothers to project a perfect fantasy where they can avoid the difficulties of raising a child themselves while still maintaining a presence in their child's life and avoid any real feelings of loss. Offered as the best of both worlds, contact between the mother and child is explained as something that the surrendering mother can choose and control. "Just as you have control over the choice of families in which you will place your baby, so you have control over how much contact you want from your child after the adoption." claims Christian Adoption Center on their "Common Lies about Adoption" page.
This is in direct conflict with "Since adoptive parents have the right to decide who may have contact with their adopted child, they can allow any amount of contact with birth family members" as said by Child Welfare Information Gateway in their "Post-adoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families" fact sheet. What this amounts to is that mothers only have true control over the fate of their children, and the degree of contact, until they sign the formal papers. After that, all legal control is held by the adoptive parents. Only twenty-two of fifty states in America recognize open adoption agreements, but failure of the adoptive parents to comply with the agreement is not legally enforceable by the surrendering mother. While statistics pointing to the true number of open adoptions that subsequently closed are almost impossible to find, a great number of mothers have been cut from their children's lives for no justifiable reason. Many open adoptions are closed almost immediately after birth signifying the false intent of the prospective adoptive parents to honor the agreements.
David Kirschner, Ph.D., in his book, Adoption: Uncharted Waters, states that "adoptees are 15 times more likely to commit parricide than nonadoptees." In addition, agency websites do not mention The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier (1993) which discusses of the feelings of loss experienced by many adoptees. Many mothers considering surrendering do not know that there will likely be emotional injuries suffered also by her child as he or she grows up without their natural family.
There are few mentions of the rates of suicide by adoptees. Louise Bellamy in 1993 in the Melbourne Age stated that Brother Alex McDonald, a Jesuit who has worked with homeless young people in St Kilda for 10 years, says of the 147 suicides of young people caused by drugs and abuse in the area over the past decade, 142 came from adoption backgrounds. Gail Slap, Elizabeth Goodman, and Bin Huang in the American Academy of Pediatrics state that "attempted suicide is more common among adolescents who live with adoptive parents than among adolescents who live with biological parents."
Informed consent in adoption should relate equally in same degree of seriousness as informed consent obtained for any major life altering decision such as major surgery and a Living Will. A doctor is bound by law and ethics to carefully and fully explain the risks and possible complications to any patient whether the surgery or procedure is for vanity or a life saving necessity. Even if the complications might result in a patient changing one's mind and opting out of such a procedure, with a decrease to a surgeon's income, a doctor who does not fully inform his patient of such risks would be held accountable for omitting such facts and would be liable for compensation. The same cannot be said about adoption "professionals."
As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States , adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of "forever families." The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.
We say to these mothers, "Please don't believe the hype. They only want your baby. BEWARE!!"
OriginsUSA is an organization of mothers and other family members separated by adoption.
For more information about the truth of adoption, past and present, join us at OriginsUSA for justice.