Tuesday, November 14, 2006


In 1992, I realized that adoption hurt for the very first time. I was up late watching CMT as usual. I couldn't tell what I did that day but that night was something that forever changed me and what I felt about adoption. A video came on by Michelle Wright. It shows a blond haired woman driving her car around a high school stadium. You actually hear the high school kids screaming and hear the band playing. The words to the song floored me. I was crying hard tears that night. No one else was around. My family was all sleeping. So no one knew what I was doing, thinking, or feeling. So I was left with pure raw emotion to figure out on my own.


She gets in her car, October Friday night
Home from work, down 31, past Franklin High
She can see the stadium lights, she can hear the band
A thousand crazy high school kids screamin' in the stands
Quarterback and Homecoming Queen
Love too young to know what it means
She goes back in time, oh in her mind, it's like a dream

He would be sixteen
The son she never knew
It hurt so much to give him up
But what could she do
He would be sixteen

A child should have a home, she knows her folks were right
She never heard the couple's name, just that they were nice
She wonders if he's taller than his father was
Does he drive a car by now, has he been in love
She shakes back to reality ~ she knows
Things turn out the way they should be
But she can't help but ask herself
Does he know about me?

He would be sixteen
She never even got to hold him
And nights like this it hurts to miss
A son she's never seen
He would be sixteen

Since then I bought the CD. I listen to it every now and then. It still brings tears to my eyes. All these types of songs do is bring issues to the forefront for me. My weekend was a hard one. I got into an argument with a family member over my search. Granted I have pretty much stopped. I gather information and put it aside to look at when I have time to dedicate fully. This individual felt that I should just give up and forget it. Quit fighting and move on. I did stand up for myself not as agressively as I normally would. This is a family member. Even the previously mentioned friend would have blown a fuse. She believes in that part of my stuff. Just is very concerned over my anger towards adoption. I did spend my day fuming. I spoke with a coworker about it. We got into a conversation about foster care and adopting through foster care. A supervisor joined the conversation. She told my coworker to go to the local high school, speak with the counselors, and find a pregnant teen. At that point I am trying to get her to listen to me. She totally ignores me. My coworker was absolutely disgusted at the suggestion. It is not the only time that I heard of such a thing. Another coworker was looking into adoption himself. He told me the exact same thing. He didn't like the way it made him feel. All desparate and icky. After all this, I was livid absolutely livid. People like this person make us feel like we are merchandise to be purchased and owned. That alone is enough to make me anti-adoption. My chief concern for my former friend's daughter is that she will suffer the side effects of adoption. She will become a birth mother. I don't want that girl to suffer those side effects. If anything, I feel that they should keep the baby. Even though I am pro-choice, I am personally pro-life. I consider this girl almost a daughter. The side effects of adoption on a birth mother are: depression that can be very severe (there is usually no counseling for it and most of the agencies do just blow her off once they have the baby), secondary infertility, extreme low self esteem ( ya think she has a low one now, what till this all blows over and she goes through the adoption -society tells a birthmother that she is doing the loving thing and then once its done - how could you give your baby up - no I don't want her to go through that) and so many other things.

Other issues to think about:

1) Open adoptions do close. The adoptive parents shut things done when they have the baby. Not all mind you but quite a few. You and your family have no rights at that point. Texas doesn't protect birthmothers and their families. You as a grandparent have absolutely no rights once it is final.

2) Private/Agency adoptions charge the adoptive parents at least $20,000 per child. Most of the time its $50,000. The agency gets that money. The adoptive parents get the baby. The birthparents and their family get jack shit.

3) The birth father could yank your chains all together as well. He could hold up the adoption as a form of control over the mother. Especially in cases of abuse. I again don't want that for her.

If you are going to put a child up for adoption, you are going to have to deal with a visit 18-21 years down the road at a minimum. That child is going to be angry. They are going to wonder why. They are going to want answers to the father even if he is a jerk or rapist. I also don't want adoptive parents trolling the halls of any girl's high school. I believe it needs changing. It needs reform. That is why I fight so hard. That is why I argue for changes. That is why I write and write. I want them to hear all of us. If you want to know what it feels like to be a birth mother read Ann Fessler's book, The Girls Who Went Away. Agencies and attorneys view women and children as a marketable asset. What happens after it is all done - well they just don't care. The reason why they want closed records is to keep their unscrupulous tactics secret.

The changes:

1) Allow access to all members of the plane/triad.

2) Take the money out of adoption. The money should only be used to cover legal and medical expenses.

3) Make open adoption legally binding subject to mediation and provide adoptee, birth parent, and adoptive parent specific counseling. Not counseling provided by single minded adoption agencies. Social workers need to be open honest and fair to all not coercive, dishonest, and corruptive.


Unknown said...

Good job, Amy. Well written and well thought out. I appreciate hearing the adoptee, the one whose "best interest" we were supposed to be serving. I wish, oh, how I wish, I could put back the clock, go back to 1967, and run screaming from that hospital, with my son in my arms. It is all so very very sad, and so utterly futile. I just hope that some social worker, or the agency got a nice fat check for my son. Job (not) well done, Creeps!

Mia said...

I tried to look up this song on delljukebox but they don't have it. I was hoping to hear it.
What a profound moment for you Amy. It's so hard to be a child and think that you are totally alone with such huge issues to sort through.
I hate to hear adoptive parents say "It just isn't talked about, she/he just never brings it up", as though that means they never give being adopted any thought at all. It's naive thinking.

Anonymous said...

so should social workers (who conduct the 18 hour homestudy of adoptive parents--are they child abusers? do they make enough money to support the child? how is the marriage? is the home safe? etc. etc.)work for free. at their current salaries, it's almost working for free. And should the legal documents be prepaired for free? Social workers and agencies are providing a service. The fees adoptive parents pay also goes towards counseling for women (whether or not they decide on an adoption plan) post-adoptive counseling for women and children, and families. The fees also help pay for the medical and living expenses of the potential birthmother. so to say that the birth mother does not get anything is not entirely accurate. Besides, how would it look if the birthmother was paid a fee for the baby?

It's not a perfect system, I know. Can you show me one that is? probably not. Should there be change? definitely.

Amyadoptee said...

It is that very attitude that needs to change. I am not saying that social workers don't deserve to get paid for services rendered. I am saying that the many people involved in the process do sit in judgement of the birth mother as she is making the decision. There is still a great deal of coercion involved. I have known women who go into a crisis pregnancy center with husband and child in tow to be asked not once but three times because they need financial help. I have read studies where family planning agencies are taught how to shove adoption down women's throats. I have read studies where agencies were taught how to belittle a woman in order to get that baby. Home studies should be done on adoptive parents. Probably more than is already done. This is also supposed to be about the child. It should go back to being just that child focused. It may not be perfect but it needs radical changes. It should not be allowed to continue as it is.