Today I’m going to cover a few things, but they will all tie together and are all related to one another.
Last week I told you a story about a prospective adoptive parent who started a campaign of harassment, threats, and coercion against a new mother who had opted NOT to relinquish her child and instead parent. I wanted to let you all know that over $1200 was raised in Clara’s name to help her and other expectant mothers to parent their children. I am truly amazed by the generosity of our community and how the efforts of all of us, for family preservation, have been so successful. I would like to share with you the receipt for Clara’s June rent in the name of accountability. Your money, your donations are going for exactly what they should be going for. Not ONE penny is used for anything else. 100% go directly to these families. Finding these moms, traveling, phone calls, fundraising – it is ALL done on a volunteer basis. We do not take ANY money that is donated.
Obviously we don’t want to show identifying information. We are still in the business of protecting these people since what we do is still considered “controversial.” Get a load of that. Helping mothers to parent their children successfully is what is controversial. When did this ever come to be? We’ll talk some more about that later. For now I would also like to share with you some other families Saving Our Sisters has helped over the past couple of years. To do so I’m going to ask you to click right HERE. Don’t worry, it will open up in a new tab or window so that you can continue to read the rest of this article.
Did you go to the link? Did you see all the smiling, unbroken families? This is why we do what we do. This is what your donations go for. (Right now the link is private but you are free to send Lynn Johansenn a friend request to view or see my collage made from some of the pictures below)
Where did we get to this place? This place where otherwise fit mothers were forever giving up their babies for financial reasons? We know that during the baby scoop era most women were literally forced to give up their children. Many (most?) came from nice upstanding families. While the women, themselves, did not have an income, their families would have been able to give the proper support for them to finish college and raise their child. This didn’t happen because of the shame a child out-of-wedlock would have branded the family with. So, instead of helping, these parents sent their daughters away to give birth alone and to have those babies taken and given to someone else. Threats and force ran a muck to make sure this happened. This is how we got the name “Baby Scoop Era.” It was literally a scooping of babies. (See more about my comparison on the baby scoop era and coercion era here)
Over time, laws were enacted, pregnancy out-of-wedlock became more socially acceptable and shame slowly became a moot point. No one was giving up their babies based on shame or force anymore, or at least in very rare circumstances. There was a transition period between the baby scoop era and the era of open adoption. This time period is where white newborn infants were slowly in decline while the demand for them continued to rise.
The adoption industry knew it had to do something.
This is where I will take some quotes from a NY Times article that was written on April 5, 1987 about adoption.
The article is entitled:
“ADOPTION MARKET: BIG DEMAND, TIGHT SUPPLY”
To summarize, the article goes into how the supply of healthy white newborns is on the decline while the demand for them is rising. The article cites the legalization of abortion and less stigma on pregnancy out-of-wedlock as the reasons. This is only half right, though. Let’s explore “less stigma,” shall we?
The article states, “According to the National Committee for Adoption, an association of 130 private adoption agencies, adoptions between unrelated people in the United States declined to 50,720, from 82,800, from 1971 through 1982, the last year for which complete data are available.” (Side note: why is there no longer any data kept?) 1971 -1982. The early 1970’s was about the end of the baby scoop era. Seeing as Roe vs. Wade was in 1973 I can see how adoption advocates would like to blame legalized abortion for the decline of infants available. I maintain that it was the END of the baby scoop era that facilitated this decline. My proof is the change of tactics from the industry. WHY did the baby scoop era end? This has nothing to do with legalized abortion. It has EVERYTHING to do with the cultural shift of acceptance of unwed mothers. No stigma, no shame. You are free to parent your child. And ever since this cultural shift there has been a rise in babies being born to unwed mothers. Even WITH legalized abortion.
Yes, less stigma means less women being forced into an adoption, does it not? What was that era called where shame and stigma were used to force a woman to hand over her baby? Oh yeah, the baby scoop era. So what happens when you can no longer shame women into giving up their babies? What do you do? You change the game plan. You offer them an “open adoption.” Let’s now focus on another article. This one is from the Chicago Tribune and was written December 15, 1985.
The title of this article is:
“When Adopted Children Know Their Roots”
This article focuses on the “radicalism” of open adoption during that time period and interviews one family with two adopted children in “open adoptions.” I use that term loosely, based on the article, because they really aren’t truly open adoptions but rather what would be considered a semi-closed adoption by today’s standards. There is no direct contact between the children and their natural parents.
“We were really worried about the number of children raised in this adoption-lie system, giving rise to adults now saying that it was their birth right to know what their parents looked like, what did they think, what did they feel,“ says Janet Cravens-Garner, the agency`s regional director.” This is a quote from Lutheran Social Services at the time. Let me point out, using today’s standards, that the reason she gives for starting to facilitate open adoption is, in my opinion, a lie. The adoption industry has fought, and is STILL fighting, for sealed records for adoptees. If they were so concerned about the adoptees rights then these agencies would be lobbying Congress for open records everywhere. Instead they fight it. No, the real reason they started offering open adoptions is because they could not get women to hand over their babies without the promise of knowing how they were doing. It was a tactic that began to become employed in an attempt to meet the demand of infertile couples everywhere. The supply wasn’t there and, as we learned earlier, was on a steady decline thanks to a cultural shift.
“By the end of the hour and a half meeting, Susan Dangerfield had charmed her. She was glad that Chris would have a father who would take him fishing.
‘It was kind of like a proud feeling, like I`d chosen the right family for him,’ she says. `I felt I wasn`t losing a son, I was gaining very close friends and some people who were really going to take care of Chris.”
This quote from the article. This one up here? This is the very definition of open adoption coercion. Susan Dangerfield, if you read the article, is the prospective adoptive parent. Chris is the newborn infant. Susan had managed to “charm” her and made the new mother feel, via the open adoption promise, that she could relinquish her son to Susan.
Open adoption coercion. Using the promises of contact to gain a child from a mother.
I did manage to find Susan Dangerfield on Facebook and am happy to report she does keep up friendships with both of her sons’ birthmothers (at least from what I can tell on her Facebook friends list). This still does not take away from the fact that open adoption was used to procure more infants that would probably, otherwise, be raised by their original families.
Open adoption coercion, since we are talking about that, leads me to another article. One I read today, a recent one.
Written May 29, 2015.
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that promises of an open adoption to a birthmother is a form of coercion.
In other words, if a woman is relinquishing her parental rights based on the promise of continued contact, and that contact is not carried out, or never was intended to be carried out, she has been COERCED out of her child.
I know this case rings particularly true for me. If I had not been promised an open adoption I would never had relinquished. I knew it wasn’t binding in court but I still believed that these were good people who would keep their word.
There it is, in writing. A legal precedent. THE SUPREME COURT OF NEBRASKA JUST RULED OPEN ADOPTION PROMISES, WITHOUT FULFILLMENT, IS COERCION.
And I quote, “Until the Legislature acts to approve of these open adoption arrangements in a private adoption context, this court will NOT recognize them.”
“Any agreements signed with the promise of an open adoption will remain invalid in the courts eyes.”
Are we finally recognizing that we have moved from forcing women to give up their babies to coercing them out of their babies? This is a BIG first.
How does all of this tie to Clara? Well, Clara didn’t fall for it. Clara was saved from the coercion of an “open adoption agreement.” Clara did not fall victim. The sad thing is that for everyone ONE Clara, there are thousands of other mothers who have no idea what they are about to embark on and believe the coercion. What Clara did was a #bravelove. She is courageous and selfless. I applaud you, Clara.