After hearing so many sad stories, I did my research last year! Afterwards, I wrote the following post: “Truth and Lies about Adoption.” An attorney’s recent post offers more insight into the difficulties with adoption:
“Over the years, I have thrown out the words “adoptions are not for the faint of heart” as sort of a warning that adoption journey is not always a smooth ride. However, it seems that the warning may need some bolstering or bulking up. Conferring with other adoption professionals, it seems that we are facing a greater litany of issues with each placement.
For the last ten years or so, I was immensely proud of the fact that the vast majority of my placements went smoothly and without incident. Certainly there were turns and twists and bumps in the road (hence the “faint heart” warning) but in recent months, it seems that the majority of matches/placements have been experiencing catastrophic issues that require major triage to repair.
Just in the first seven weeks of this year (in no particular order), two of my expectant mothers seem to have fallen off the wagon and are unable to address their addiction issues, another was evicted and needed new housing, another experienced a bed bug infestation and needed to be relocated and another was kicked out her home by the birth father. In two cases, unexpectedly men have shown up and claimed to be the father of the child to be born (mind you, men that were not divulged previously).
In one case, the race of the child at birth did not match the race of the parents…meaning putative father was not the putative father. In another case, some basic miscommunication regarding some expenses led to the mistaken belief that the birth mother was “misappropriating” funds. Another birth mother told her doctor’s office that she was not going through with the adoption in a moment of doubt and the ensuing consequences of that comment set everyone on edge for a week.
In one horrific sets of circumstances, it appears that one expectant mother withheld the fact that she had had a miscarriage at some point of the pregnancy and proceeded to mislead EVERYBODY in her life until her due date came and went. While it is likely a criminal case and civil suit will be forthcoming, that doesn’t repair the broken hearts.
In another tragic situation, a previously successfully placement has been disrupted due to the erratic behavior of the birth mother (post-placement) causing the adoptive family to make the impossible choice of stopping the adoption due to the fear of lifetime of intimidation and threats from the birth mother. Nothing will ever heal that wound entirely.
In another case, the adopting mother received a call from the the birth mother telling her that she had just been advised that the birth father’s mother was committed to undoing the placement from late last year. Legally, the placement is sound but that doesn’t help the family sleep well until the final adoption.
These are the ones that just come to mind this morning. It would appear that I am not alone in the turmoil. As part of the close knit adoption professionals community, we all keep each other advised of the current state of affairs. Most of the folks who place on a regular basis are finding turbulent travels, as well.
Mind you, I am not birth mother bashing in any way. The placement yesterday of Baby Z and the finalization of the Adoption of Baby W yesterday are two great examples of smooth placements with no issues. But it seems they are the exception this year and not the rule. And the most of the circumstances of the nightmares listed above are explainable and understandable.
I still hold fast in my belief that the vast majority of expectant mothers are very well-intentioned and committed to do the best for their child. Of course, there are some very bad apples that sour the whole bushel. The same could be said for adoption professionals and certainly for adoptive parents, as well.
I write this more to explain to those new to the world of adoption that all is not rosy. I stress the need for everyone to be mindful of the warning signs. In recent years, the process of adoptions has become more transparent and that sometimes leads to the abuse of the process. I am still the greatest advocate of transparency in the adoption process but we need to on our toes all the time.
Often I will see complaints about how expensive adoptions can be. I do agree that many private adoptions are out of most people’s financial means. But if it was more widely known what the day to day issues are that confront adoption professionals, perhaps there would be some greater understanding on what drives the costs up.
To all you wonderful folks out there who are placing your child or have placed your child, I am so sorry if I have give the impression that birth parents are a sorry lot. Nothing could be further from the truth. You provide the greatest gift to so many. Yesterday, I was walking out of the hospital with the mother of Baby Z. I pulled her aside and whispered in her ear as I gave her a hug that “no matter what anyone says about you, you are a great mother. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.”-Mark R. Miller, Esquire-Adoption Attorney
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