Cuddle, Nurture, Newborns Awaiting Adoption: The Adoption Propaganda Machine

*EDIT: The article states there are 104,000 children awaiting adoption which is misleading and needs correction. This number reflects, almost exclusively, Foster care placements, not infants.*

Let’s talk about this article and its counterpart (original source), this article.

Headline:

Adoption agencies need volunteers to cuddle, nurture newborns awaiting adoption

This article has been posted by various news outlets all over the Internet. It has been shared multiple times by agencies, pro-adoption groups, and mis-educated bystanders who see it in their news feed and think, “Awwww.” Stop.

Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc. 2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc. 3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

Upon first glance, the first article seems to be a cuddly, fuzzy, feel-good piece. Volunteer to snuggle babies all day because there just isn’t enough people to do it! Those poor, abandoned children who are awaiting forever homes. That is not the case, however, and upon reading the more in-depth article, at ABC News, you will get more details.

You will find that the source for the article is Susan Singer who volunteers at Spence-Chapin. Nowhere will you find that Spence-Chapin is an adoption agency. It’s official IRS name is Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children and it is a registered non-profit. But, as we know, non-profit, for tax purposes, does not always mean “doesn’t make money or doesn’t have a vested interest in making money to sustain itself.”

According to their form 990, filed with the IRS for tax year 2014, “THE MISSION OF SPENCE-CHAPIN IS TO PROVIDE ADOPTION AND ADOPTION-RELATED SERVICES OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY.” In tax year 2014 they also received almost $1,700,000 in funds. They paid out almost $120,000 in grants (not sure exactly what kinds of grants), and $4,142,000 were paid in SALARIES to employees of this agency. Their total amount of assets, at the end of 2014, were almost $56,000,000. Yes, fifty-six MILLION dollars. Of the board, there are a couple dozen members. Five of those board members receive a paycheck.

The executive director, Emily Forhman, makes almost $200,000 a year.

The CFO, Rick Stewart, makes almost $160,000 a year.

The director for adoption, David Nish, makes $120,000 a year.

The director of marketing, Leslie Case, makes a little over $100,000 a year.

And their attorney, Yekaterina Trambitskaya, is paid $104,000 a year.

(Let’s not forget the endowment fund that is totally separate of all this that keeps collecting interest. It’s net worth for 2014 was 37 1/2 million dollars)

We shouldn’t forget that it’s okay to make a couple hundred thousand dollars a year as a salary when you run a non profit as long as that isn’t you MAIN goal, according to the IRS.

(Contrary to Spence-Chapin’s 2013 newsletter that they will no longer be facilitating infant adoptions, they still continue to do so)

Now that we’ve established where this article is coming from, who has influenced it, and what it does, let’s talk cradle care.

Spence-Chapin calls it “interim care.” I am not totally opposed to cradle care. I think it is good for a mother to take a few weeks, let her body heal, make a sound judgement call, before making such a life-changing decision, such as relinquishing her child. If done correctly, cradle care can be a valuable tool to diminish the number of unnecessary domestic infant adoptions in the United States. Instead of having a mother sign away her rights, days or hours after birth, she has more time to think, more time to get used to the idea of her baby not being with her. I have met so many first moms, over the years, who have changed their mind a week after relinquishing and there is nothing that can be done. So, no, I’m not totally opposed to cradle care. What I am opposed to is an adoption agency providing the cradle care.

Why? Because it’s a horrible conflict of interest. I have worked on too many cases where the mother has not yet relinquished her rights, the agency has custody of the baby, she has asked for the baby back, and has been met with nothing but problems, red tape, and outright refusal to return her baby. Even agencies who return the baby willingly, have a vested (and financial, as we’ve seen above) interest in making sure that baby is successfully adopted out to recoup fees (see hyperlink for access to Spence-Chapin’s form 990).

Besides the obvious conflict of interest, there remains the fact that most of these babies DO have a loving mother that can “cuddle and nurture” their newborns while awaiting the adoption process. Why are these babies not taken home by their mothers to care for? Well, the most obvious answer would be because there are no financial resources for her to be able to do so. Yet, we see that Spence-Chapin is providing diapers, formula, clothes, and transportation to their volunteer “cuddlers.” Why aren’t they providing this to new moms while they decide whether or not to relinquish? Quite simply because once a mom takes her baby home, the chances of her actually relinquishing drop tremendously. Some moms may not want to take the baby home because “it would make it too hard to give the baby up later.” If that’s the case, the reasons behind going through with relinquishment must not have been very solid. Besides, we all know that’s what the agencies tell you. “Don’t take that baby home! It will make it VERY hard on you once you relinquish!”  Here’s the thing…baby home or not, it’s hard, the same kind of hard, and it just gets harder as the years go by.

So, just to recap, Spence-Chapin is providing diapers, formula, clothing and transportation to volunteers taking care of babies, but not to the mothers to take care of their babies while making a final decision.

There are some issues adoptees have raised with cradle care. Being taken from their mother of origin, placed with a stranger for a month or longer, then taken from that person and being placed with another stranger is worrisome and it is suggested that it is possible that it may make for attachment problems later in life. This is why a mother should ALWAYS be helped to take her baby home, if it is safe, to try parenting. Agencies (especially ones paying out over 4 million dollars in salaries with over 50,000,0000 in assets) should be providing the same things to these mothers, while they make a permanent decision, as they are to volunteers in cradle care. Why wouldn’t you? And, if the end result of cradle care is that a mother was not coerced, and that she did decide to keep her child, it’s worth it. But, again, agencies should NOT be providing it.

Who should be providing cradle care? Third party groups with no vested interest in whether or not an adoption goes through. They should be paid by the agencies or at least the basic necessities for a baby should be provided. The most desirable answer, though, is for the baby to go home with mom so she can try her hand at parenting. Adoption is always something that can be done, weeks later, if she feels it is too much.

Here’s the reality. There aren’t a whole bunch of abandoned infants in tremendous need of cuddles or homes. There ARE a whole bunch of people wanting to adopt newborn infants and the demand far exceeds the supply. The reality is that these babies DO have loving mothers, or at least the majority do.  The reality is that many of these relinquishments would probably not take place if the mother had just the tiniest bit of support, sometimes not even financial. Some diapers, formula, clothing and transportation. Why are agencies making hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, alone (donated money at that!), to facilitate separation of mother and child, while they could be using those resources to keep families together? Because adoption, in America, has become this great propaganda machine. The general public, who has little knowledge to how this really works, sees “adoption” and has images of orphans, heartless moms who just don’t want a baby, and/or abusive mothers in their heads. They pull out their pocket books, heartstrings tugged, and give it away to help separate families. The entirety of the money earned in 2014 for Spence-Chapin came from donations. Another, less obvious, reason people are more willing to donate to adoption agencies than poor single mothers is because, like it or not, the stigma of getting pregnant and having a baby, before one is ready, is still quite prominent. There is the sentiment of, “drain on the taxpayers, mooch, or stupid.” Society, as a whole, thinks it is best that those babies be given to financially stable parents so they don’t have to fork out taxpayer dollars to help care for them. Most of these same people, will also tell you that abortion is WRONG. You’re going to HELL! Their only solution to an unplanned pregnancy is adoption – based on their beliefs, stigmas, and stereotypes. The fact is, however, that taxpayer money, for social welfare programs, pales in comparison to where their taxpayer dollars are really going. Nike, alone, has taken in over 2 BILLION dollars in welfare handouts from this country. 

So herein lies the question. Why are we unnecessarily separating mothers from their babies and babies from their mothers? Because society doesn’t think those mothers are deserving of their babies because of the circumstances of the conception. Plain and simple. Times haven’t really changed that much. Not at all. It’s time for us, as a society, to stop believing every gushy, propagandic, agency-delivered, drool we are fed. It’s time for us, as human beings, to stand up and stop the inhumanity of mother-child separation.

The articles cited are propaganda. They exist to promote adoption and, in turn, raise funds for an adoption agency to better procure the product to deliver to the buyers. It’s simple. It’s business and you’re falling for it.

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18 thoughts on “Cuddle, Nurture, Newborns Awaiting Adoption: The Adoption Propaganda Machine

  1. Thank you so much for rooting this rat out! My gratitude has me in tears! I can’t tell you how this feels from a Mom of the BSE that had her newborn taken before she heard her first cry. There was no internet in 1976. There was no information. There was no one to help. I was denied a most basic human right. The right to my daughter. The right to see her beautiful face, hold her, and count her fingers and toes. Denied the right to take her home if that was my desire. I was forced into the role of the Exiled Mother. I find it sad that other Mothers of Loss do not listen to what we have to say. Thank you for not turning your back. Thank you for hearing my voice!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: Cuddle, Nurture, Newborns Awaiting Adoption: The Adoption Propaganda Machine | Musings of the Lame

  3. Sadly here in South Africa, you find girls who decide to parent, THEN a few months later, abandon their babies or start ‘selling’ them. THAT SAID, even so, I HATE this. Why not then let the adoptive parents cuddle etc. If the BM decides she wants her child back, then so be it. And that’s spoken as an adoptive mom who obviously would have been sad but who would have REJOICED knowing that the child she nurtured even for a day or 59 days (seeing as BM have 60 days within which to change their minds) went BACK TO HER MOTHER! If BM honestly can’t do this cuddle care, then let the AP. Not yet another person to split up from. It hurt so much to see a smiling kanga mom(That’s what they’re called here) saying, “He only sleeps if he can see me.” How was I, his new parent meant to feel? Why couldn’t that have been given to me as an option? Either me, his ‘forever’ mom, or his first mom-the one whose heartbeat, voice, essence he knows? Why yet another layer of separation? Ugh…

    Like

    • There is such a difference in adoption practices when comparing the US to other countries. Most prospective adoptive parents would not take a baby home for 60 days if they knew that rights were not terminated. Also, domestic infant adoptions are frequently matched with an expectant mother living states away (and hundreds of miles) to ensure that contact is limited, even in open adoptions, or to supersede home state laws with a revocation period.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another layer of bureaucracy, another wall to tear down. It never ends. Exposing them is the only thing we can do since there’s no hope that these organizations will have an epiphany that causes them to support first moms so these new mothers don’t feel as if they have to give up their child. It’s so very sad and frustrating. I wish the false narrative of “either adoption or abortion” would be revealed as the adoption propaganda it is. Expectant mothers who are investigating adoption because they feel desperate and alone are obviously not thinking of aborting their child. It is despicable for anyone to suggest this, and only adds to the MOST despicable propaganda that paints first mothers as “bad, irresponsible, potentially abusive and uncaring”. This “needing cuddles” crap is misleading and so manipulative. No newborn that is being considered for relinquishment are being left alone in a crib somewhere, neglected. IT NEVER HAPPENS, unless the interim family that was chosen to temporarily care for the child is neglectful or abusive. And what does that say about the whole adoption process?

    Liked by 2 people

    • The article states 5-10 families are needed. So why do a national expose article calling for “volunteers?” Well, the answer to that can be found on Spence-Chapin’s facebook page. They thank everyone who has contacted them to volunteer and then say “thanks but no thanks, the best way you can help these babies is by pulling out your checkbook and giving us some money.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • I left a message for this group too. Doubt it’ll do any good, but they need to hear it. It’s up to them to ignore it or ponder it.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: “Baby Cuddlers” Ploy for Agency to Collect More Money | Musings of a Birthmom

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