Domestic Adoption Support Network; Tim Elder, Melissa Kay Robinson and the Conflict of Interest in Support Groups

*Edit* I am by no means upset by my exclusion from this group. I AM upset that when I questioned the appropriateness of Melissa acting in the capacity of admin and gave my reasons why my comments were deleted and I was blocked (see silenced). I figured if they wouldn’t give me an answer in there (and everyone else who wanted to know) I’d ask them here and let the information be public. I also think the rules should apply to ALL. And they don’t.

I have been a member of a mixed adoption support group for a couple of years by the name of “Domestic Adoption Support Network” on Facebook. The group was apparently created by a man named Tim Elder and recently added an admin by the name of Melissa Kay Robinson (or just Melissa Kay or just Melissa Robinson).

This is the story of why I am no longer a member in this particular group, along with many other adoptive parents, adoptees, and first parents. This is the story of an intricate network to market adoption and mine expectant mothers under the facade of a “support” group. I can quite honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like this during my time in adoptionland.  It’s very cunning yet quite alarming. If you don’t have some time to read I suggest you save this story for another time, but do save it.  It is not only worth the read, it would be negligent if you didn’t.

Hold onto your hats as we pull the curtain on “Domestic Adoption Support Network” and show you what is really going on.

Boasting over 5,000 members on Facebook, Domestic Adoption Support Network describes itself as:

“A community of domestic adoption advocates supporting adoptive families and birth mothers.

Group Admins:
Tawnya McPhetridge


Within the “FILES” section of this group (if you are a member you can read these, if not you’re out of luck so I’ll share here) you will find the “RULES.”  They read as follows (with my own commentary in italic):

GROUP RULES: This is a domestic adoption support group which is moderated by Tim Elder of, Tawnya Wallace McPhetridge, Andrew Finch and Melissa Kay Robinson.

Facebook Support Group Rules of Etiquette: We are a community that has come together because of our mutual interest in domestic adoption in the United States. As we all know, adoption is an emotional topic that can bring strong feelings and emotions. This support group is a safe place to share our joys and concerns and to learn from each other. This requires trust and respect, so here are our group rules.

1. This is a closed group. The information in this group should not be shared with others. This includes sharing snapshots of private messages and comments. (whoops, hope they don’t kick me out. Oh! They already did when I discovered what they were doing)
2. Understand that all members of the adoption triad are welcomed and represented here – birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. We also welcome adoption advocates/workers. Please act accordingly. (They mean all members of the triad are welcome as long as they don’t challenge the positive adoption facade)
3. PLEASE OBSERVE positive adoption language (Google the term to learn more). DO NOT use the abbreviation ‘BM’ when talking about birthmothers. While you may not understand or agree, this can be offensive to birthmoms(Except this abbreviation is used a lot in this group and arguments frequently break out by people insisting they should be able to use it if they want and admins don’t do anything about it half the time – I’ve never seen someone booted for consistently violating this rule)
4. No personal attacks. No name calling. Period. It is OK to disagree with someone, but do it respectfully. Remember to re-read your words to make sure they don’t feel like a personal attack. It is NEVER acceptable to put down another person or call someone a name. Ever.
5. Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve. Someone can disagree with you and it isn’t an attack on you personally. They simply disagree. No need to take offense.
6. Assume people have good intentions first, unless they prove otherwise. If someone is being rude and had bad intentions, report this to the admins.
7. Stick to the facts when posting about an agency or professional. Report only your own experience – no second hand knowledge. (And this is the subject matter of this post.  Remember this rule everyone. It’s totally okay to post second hand knowledge as long as you’re saying something good about an adoption agency, but if you heard something bad about them – even from your best friend who you talk to everyday – LOOK OUT)
8. Group administrators reserve the right to: delete any post they feel is in violation of these guidelines, shut down comments on any post and remove members who do not adhere to the guidelines. (And delete they do. Anything that might make them or an agency or adoption in general look bad.  Even first hand knowledge)
9. Sharing of adoption pages vs direct advertising. While we encourage links to adoption pages and the sharing of personal insights into agencies, useful products, etc. this forum is not to be used for direct advertising of any form. If there are questions or concerns, please notify the admins of this group and we will handle it.

10. We want to keep this forum free from fundraising solicitation posts – offers to host parties and links for people to purchase your tshirts, mugs, etc. I will make 2 documents in the files section where you are free to add your services & your fundraisers if you would like. If someone asks a question about fundraising you may, in the comments, like to ideas you’ve done etc – but not as original posts. We don’t want this group to become overrun with these sorts of posts. There are other FB groups that focus on fundraising that you can join.

Let’s start by looking at one of the group “owners,” Tim Elder. According to his LinkedIn page, he doesn’t have any kind of formal adoption training.  He isn’t technically an “adoption professional.” It just states under the “also knows about” section, “adoption.” He got his degree from DeVry University in Chicago.  Being from Chicago, myself, I know that doesn’t mean much and it’s a for-profit technical school that advertised heavily on the television.  My childhood and teenage years were inundated by these cheaply made, annoying commercials. Even by his own admission he isn’t a professional. He has a little “book” called “7 Steps to Domestic Infant Adoption” and in the very beginning he states, “I am not an adoption professional. Any advice or resources given in this guide are based on my opinion, research, and experience.” Yet he feels he is enough of a “professional” to also advertise and conduct his own “podcasts” called “Infant Adoption Guide” and run a “support” group on Facebook with thousands of members representing many different walks of life within the adoption community.

What exactly is Tim’s qualifications in adoption? Oh, he’s an adoptive father.  He’s got some adopted kids that he adopted when they were infants. While he would certainly be a valued opinion to other prospective adoptive parents trying to navigate domestic infant adoption, this hardly qualifies him to coach and navigate the many complex aspects, psychologically and otherwise, aspects of adoption in a support group. He even sells an e-book on Amazon for his “Infant Adoption Guide” that you can buy for 99 cents! In fact, if you head on over to his website you can get his four FREE e-books for subscribing to his mail list as well as get his free videos!

To Tim’s credit, at first glance it doesn’t appear he is making a WHOLE lot of money off of adoption (although I could be very very wrong). But he is making, at least, some. I subscribed to his email list to see what comes through and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get third-party advertisements that he is compensated for.  If I’m wrong then I’ll apologize but considering that Bethany Christian Services pops up as one of his “new” sponsors it’s a safe bet there are several and they are all in the business of profiting or making a living off of domestic infant adoption. And let’s not forget that a “sponsor” is someone who pays you. Tim profits from adoption.

Edited to add: It appears Melissa’s agency, Chosen Child, was or is a sponsor of Tim’s adoption venture. 


Bethany is one of THE largest adoption agencies in the United States

I could go on and on about Tim, and while I take issue with what he’s doing there is a bigger picture.  He is part of that bigger picture and that is why I’ve given you some information about him but we must move forward to get to where I’m taking you.

Let’s talk about new admin, Melissa Kay Robinson.  Melissa is the admin of this mixed group yet she is only connected to adoption in the capacity that she once owned her own FOR PROFIT adoption agency (now defunct, not sure why) and is currently the administrator for the adoption agency Chosen Child Adoption Services. According to her LinkedIn profile she holds a LCPA (social worker). She has no mention of her now defunct FOR PROFIT adoption agency on her LinkedIn page as past experience. I also find it interesting she is a member of the American Pregnancy Association considering she makes a living finding babies for people who want them. It’s also laughable to me that her LinkedIn profile says: Causes Melissa Cares About and “Children” is the only thing listed.  Hmmm. I digress.

In addition to being an adoption agency administrator, Melissa also runs her own business doing home studies for people. In other words, she gets to decide if a home should be approved for adoption or not. This business of hers is called “Texas Adoption Assistance” or “Adoption Family Services” as its official name is known.  Her business completing home studies for hopeful adoptive parents, according to Manta, employees two people, herself and someone else, and has an annual revenue of $83,000. Her bio on the Texas Adoption Assistance website is almost (if not) identical to her bio on the Chosen Child Adoption Services website.  The beginning states:

“Melissa initially became interested in adoption when her best friend became pregnant in college. The friend made an adoption plan and asked Melissa to help her select the adoptive parents. Ultimately, this mom decided to parent when it came time to place the baby in the arms of the adoptive parents. She witnessed the hardship of this mother trying to do the best for her baby by making a responsible life plan, as well as the struggle she endured raising him as a single parent. Her personal encounter with a birth mother inspired Melissa to commit her professional career to assisting those in unplanned pregnancies. This was 25 years ago and Melissa has remained involved in adoption in some way since this time.”

So what I’m seeing here, reading between the lines, is that Melissa’s friend got pregnant at an inconvenient time and almost bought into the whole “your baby deserves better” thing and at the last minute came to her senses, breaking those poor PROSPECTIVE (Melissa fails to use the word “prospective” when telling her story.  They are already adoptive parents in her eyes) adoptive parents’ hearts. Melissa then watched a single mother struggle so she decided to dedicate her life to “assisting” those with unplanned pregnancies (but I see “convincing them adoption is best”). Notice Melissa also calls her “friend” in this story a “birthmother” when she isn’t and never was. She makes no effort, whatsoever, to avoid language that could possibly be considered coercion, when counseling expectant moms considering adoption, but she’s the administrator of an adoption agency. Anyway, this is just what I’m seeing when I read this. It isn’t very well written so perhaps that’s not what it means but given her lack of education in today’s world of adoption about coercion and using correct labels for people (expectant mother vs. birthmother, hopeful adoptive parents vs. adoptive parents) to avoid coercion I will say that I think my gut is right. Melissa doesn’t advocate for what’s best for families.  She advocates for what’s best for her pocket-book. Melissa doesn’t pay her bills without adoption. Adoption doesn’t exist without healthy infants to give to people willing to pay tens and thousands of dollars for them. You do the math.

Let’s take a closer look at the adoption agency Melissa heads. Chosen Child Adoption Services is a non-profit adoption agency that is under the umbrella (for non-profit status) Promiseland Ministries who run the Hannah House Maternity Home in Texas. Their website states:

“Promiseland Ministries, Inc., exists to reach out in love to women, mothers, unborn children and families in need, providing a safe place to live, meeting physical and emotional needs, offering educational and financial opportunities, and working to build and strengthen families according to God’s word and for His glory.  Our organization was started in 1999 by Glennis and Gary Woodall, who have 20 years of experience in helping pregnant women in need.  We now operate Hannah House Maternity Home, which houses up to five women at a time, and Maryhannah House Aftercare Home, which houses up to four women at a time. In August of 2008 we opened The Chosen Child Adoption Services in Allen, Texas.”

How convenient. A “maternity home” that functions as a residence to “help” pregnant girls and also opened up their own adoption agency to sell adopt out infants for tens and thousands of dollars. And Melissa Kay Robinson heads the adoption agency as the administrator (remember this is in addition to her $83,000 dollar a year personal business selling home studies to hopeful adoptive parents).

Now, here’s the kicker. I don’t know exactly how much Melissa makes with Chosen Child since they are under Promiseland Ministries as a non-profit. Her specific salary isn’t listed on the Form 990 because of this.  Again, how convenient. Feel free to visit the hyperlink to view the Form 990 yourself to see how much Promiseland has in assets and what their profit margin is.

Just a thought.  I wonder if Melissa recommends her own business conducting home studies to hopeful adoptive parents that come to Chosen Child. Did I mention she admins a group of over 5,000 people connected to adoption that has many expectant mothers considering adoption within the group and controls the content of what is shared in that group by silencing those who dare say anything bad about adoption?

That might explain why Melissa advertises her adoption agency on multiple Facebook pages.

Oh, and I almost forgot how Chosen Child Adoption Services had a case that went already to the Supreme Court (against them) for (surprise surprise) adopting a baby out without the father’s permission.  READ THAT HERE.

Where was I? Oh there’s just so much to tell you.

So the other night someone asked how American Adoptions was as an adoption agency in that support group, Domestic Adoption Support Network. Lots of comments came in. Many from people who adopted using their services and had great things to say about them. Some adoptive parents chimed in about a friend who did not have a good experience as an expectant mother when she changed her mind about adoption. Melissa was sure to chime in and let everyone know that ONLY FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE IS ALLOWED WHEN TALKING ABOUT ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS. Yet, when people were saying “my friend used them and said they were great” Melissa had nothing to say. Apparently that was allowed. And asking her to clarify the rules or enforce them equally ended with people getting kicked out of the group or chastised. When I pointed out that Melissa was adminning a support group where her only connection was as the former owner of a for-profit adoption agency and the agency administrator of Chosen Child my comments were deleted and I was removed and blocked from the group.  Enjoy some screen shots of what Melissa, the “adoption professional” has to say within this group.

(Remember, this was in response to someone asking about American Adoptions. An adoptee who is also an adoptive parent responded telling the story of a friend whose child was almost lost to them because of American Adoptions)




melissa again.jpg


melissa discussion between 1 and 2.jpg













And here is an example of a totally different thread, a “positive” second hand review of an agency and nothing was “policed” and this comment remains to this day.


And when I say POLICING I mean POLICING.  Every since Melissa was promoted to an admin in this group she spends her free time commenting warnings to any person who dare say anything negative about adoption.  She also sends you messages. Here is what I wrote in regards to the original thread in question. (It’s also what got me booted and blocked by Melissa)


experience as a birthmom part 1.jpg

Then other admins chimed in.


It just goes on and on and on and on.


And then she blocked me so I just logged into my other account and messaged her what I really thought.  Don’t say I didn’t give her the chance to defend herself.


But what does Melissa think about the discrepancy in the enforcement of the group rules? You know, policing people who share negative second hand knowledge but not “positive” second hand knowledge? I would dig through hundreds of screen shots but just trust me when I tell you that she feels that only second hand positive knowledge should be allowed because it doesn’t “hurt” any adoption professionals. Negative second hand knowledge should NOT be allowed as it may hurt adoption professionals.  Seriously.  That’s what she said. I’m not joking. But I thought she was just “going by the rules.” And as you can see, because I shared the group’s rules, nowhere does it distinguish between negative second hand reviews of adoption “professionals” and positive reviews of adoption “professionals.” You’re just not allowed to do it.

To some people this may seem petty. But it points to a larger picture. It points to a picture of being censored from telling the stories, even if you know the person personally that they happened to, that shows the tactics adoption agencies and attorneys will go to in order to facilitate an adoption. There are women in there who are considering putting their babies up for adoption and comments are being deleted and the ugly side of adoption, and which agencies to avoid quite frankly, are is being censored. Is that really giving someone an “informed” choice? Of course it isn’t.  What in the world would these admins in this “support” group have to gain by not allowing these stories to be told? Well, I think I’ve made it very clear why Melissa has a problem with it. I’ve never seen policing like she has done in that group. It’s quite Gestapo.

Remember Tim? We talked about him a little bit in the beginning. In another thread totally unrelated to the subject of this post he talks about his podcast. Notice the reference to American Adoptions. The subject matter of this post and the extreme censorship of anyone saying anything bad about them or their ethics.


Hmm. In another comment someone talks about how American Adoptions has their own Facebook group.

American Adoptions FB group.jpg

So I visited this group and found this:


And I quote:

If you have adopted or are adopting through another agency or are just beginning the research phase, I would suggest joining the Domestic Adoption Support group.

Well, this explains a lot more why no one was allowed to talk about the horrible things American Adoptions have done. Is American Adoptions a sponsor of Tim Elder’s Infant Adoption Guide? Are the two groups working with each other? What exactly is going on here?

Where does this leave us? In a TERRIBLE breach of confidentiality and trust. Support groups should be for support. Not for adoption professionals to police. Not for people to potentially mine expectant mothers to exploit them to make money in their adoption profiting business. Not for adoption professionals to snoop and change tactics in order to better coerce mothers based on the stories shared in these support groups.

Anyone who chooses to remain within this group should be warned. Everything you say, every story you share, every detail you divulge about yourself can  be used against YOU or someone else. Someone very vulnerable.

I always get so irritated when I hear hopeful or adoptive parents complain that there are too many “bitter” first moms or adoptees out there. Can you understand WHY after reading this? These people don’t care about kids or families. They care about making a living off of adoption. They care about helping other people get what they want – a new baby – even if it hurts someone else. These people SHOULD NOT be adminning or running any kind of support group that involves expectant mothers or adoptees AT ALL. These people should NOT be guiding hopeful adoptive parents. These people are the epitome of everything that is wrong in the land of adoption. The reform that is greatly needed is because of people like this. If you can, in good conscience, remain active or supportive to this group you are only encouraging this behavior.

May I suggest a different mixed group? One that welcomes EVERYONE’S experiences?

Try Adoption Perspectives: A Triad Community

There’s even a former admin from Domestic Adoption Support Network as an admin in here. She left after noticing many of the things I pointed out in this blog.

In the meantime, I implore you to share this so others are aware. Shoot, even try to join it on principle alone to seek out those expectant mothers who are being told half-truths. That is the only possible reason I could ever see to stay within this horrid group.



“Baby Cuddlers” Ploy for Agency to Collect More Money

The Internet was taken by storm with multiple articles calling for “baby cuddler volunteers” just a few days ago. People all over the country shared, posted, commented and were tricked into thinking there were SO many children in need of cuddling and care while they waiting for their “forever” homes. I gave my thoughts on this in my previous post, “Cuddle, Nurture, Newborns Awaiting Adoption: The Adoption Propaganda Machine.”

Turns out, if you had several of the slightly different articles, all containing different bits of information, the agency behind the article, Spence-Chapin, only needed 5-10 volunteers, as published as a direct statement from Spence-Chapin. This is a very important fact to keep in mind while forming  your opinions about this matter. You must think about this logically. If an agency is only in need to 5-10 volunteers, why put out a national smoke signal? Why is this article being published, posted, and run on several national news outlets, as well as smaller local ones? Why does anyone go national with any kind of news? To gain attention.

As I pointed out, in my previous article, this whole thing is just another part of the adoption propaganda machine. Turns out it is, most likely, even deeper than that. Within days of this article, and it’s different variations, going viral, Spence-Chapin made a statement on their Facebook page.

“We are filled with gratitude for the outpouring of responses we’ve received from people around the country and the world interested in volunteering in our Interim Care Program. We appreciate your support and your interest in caring for babies in need.
The best way to help a newborn is to make a donation to help us cover the expenses of each baby in interim care. The Interim Care Program is 100% funded by donor support!

As you’ll see, the link they provided at the end of their statement will bring you directly to their website to donate money to them. Mission accomplished. An article, citing their agency, with a gushy, gooey, feel good story (who WOULDN’T want to cuddle newborns in their spare time) went viral and now they put out the call for money. Cash, please!

As I also pointed out, in my previous article, 5 board members from this agency bring in almost $700,000 annually in salaries with the highest salary being paid to the Executive Director, Emily Forhman (an adoptive mom, I’d like to point out), in the amount of $200,000. But, pull out your checkbooks folks! The BEST way you can help these poor, innocent, orphaned, babies is to give us money. Ahem.

Actually, the BEST way you can help any child, whose parents are so desperate they are willing to suffer a lifelong wound of giving their baby up, is to pull out your checkbook and help THEIR FAMILY.  Help the babies by allowing them to grow up intrinsically alike the rest of their family, which increases the chances they will feel accepted and never out of place, for even a moment. Help babies by allowing them to live their lives surrounded by people who look like them, act like them, have the same mannerisms as them. Help them to never experience the loss of their first family and navigate the rest of their life (even if in silence so as not to upset the parents – adoptive and birth alike – that made life-altering choices for them before they were even able to have a say in the matter) the issues that come with that. Help their mothers to have control over the choices made for their child, by not surrendering them, and because of that  control over the outcomes of their lives. Help their parents to be there to protect them when needed and to mold the people they are becoming. Help them to not suffer this LOSS. Adoption ALWAYS begins with a LOSS. You aren’t helping babies by giving money to the industry and salaries of those who benefit, financially, from separating them.

There were a few comments on their Facebook post. The first one questioning their motives.


You can see a couple people trying to answer this question but they don’t quite have it right. Let me debunk their responses:

The money it costs to take care of them until they’re adopted? Definitely covered by the fees an agency charges for a domestic infant adoption. Typically these fees will range from $30,000 to upwards of $60,000 in agency adoptions. About those fees making it so people can’t adopt? Totally not true. People can and DO pay this amount of money for a baby. Those who don’t have it lying around will often fundraise and are usually met with a great response. People are generally happy to put out their wallets to give to someone who wants to adopt thanks to the propaganda machine that gives people a warped perception on what adoption really is. They will usually NOT happily give money to a single parent attempting to raise money to help her keep her baby. There goes that stigma again.

As for the second response. I think what this comment is saying is that the home study (research) for prospective adoptive parents cost money and then she includes medical bills for these “orphans” as well as the bills the agency incurs from being a brick and mortar business. Let’s address this, shall we?

Home studies are always paid for by the prospective adoptive parents or are included in the fee they are charged to buy adopt a baby. Medical bills, for any baby whose parents make under a certain income (and almost all women contemplating giving their baby up are low income), are covered by Medicaid. For those that this wouldn’t apply to, the adoptive parents, through their insurance company, will have all medical bills retroactively paid for from the date of birth once a placement is made with them (before finalization). As far as those gas bills, transportation, housing (not sure what housing they are talking about – maybe the babies living in volunteer foster homes?) – well, $700,000 in salaries. Need I say more?

Alas, it looks like this was all a ploy to get more money. Viral article, feel good subject that didn’t make sense (the article never states they are looking for what is, essentially, volunteer foster homes – they just say “baby cuddlers”), and then, once the whole country is aware of who they are and his this image of in their head (thanks to the propaganda) of these poor, abandoned babies, the punchline – give us money, please.

After reading these 2 articles, that I have written, you still think that any of this was about seeking out volunteers to cuddle babies and NOT about fattening the pocket books of an agency whose assets exceed 50 million dollars, well, then, you’re either not as bright as you think you are, or you have a similar agenda that blinds you to the truth.

When it all boils down to it adoption, for agencies, facilitators, and attorneys, is about making money. Lots of it. Babies are the supply and it’s easy to capitalize on that, as any economist knows, because the demand FAR exceeds this supply.

America, I’m losing my faith in you. You have been duped. Pull your heads out from underneath the rock you have been hiding under.

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.


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.

Don’t Stop Now! #notabravelove #bravelove #notbravelove

“A movement to increase adoption in the U.S.”

A few years ago an organization came on the scene. It was called, “BraveLove.”  It’s mission was and is to increase domestic infant adoption in the United States. There have been a few blog posts about it in the past, but now it is a hot button issue. Why? Because this past week they have launched a billboard assault all over the country with the names of first moms and how adoption is the perfect solution to a pregnancy in a less than ideal situation. By their own accounts, from their website they say:

“We’re a pro-adoption movement. We’re not an adoption agency. We’re not a pregnancy resource center or a church ministry. We’re a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public charity organization headquartered in Dallas, Texas that exists to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative and hopeful communication that conveys the bravery of birth mothers. We believe birth mothers are heroes and adoption can be a beautiful thing.”

EDIT: Keep in mind that Frank Garrott, CEO of Gladney Adoption Center in Texas, is a board member of BraveLove. He also made almost a quarter of a million dollars from his position at Gladney- profiting off infants. 

You may have seen the #notabravelove (or #notbravelove) campaign going on the past few days. This campaign came into inception when one of my beemommy friends had had enough and suggested a campaign similar to #flipthescript that adoptees were doing in the month of November for National Adoption Month. Another beemommy friend suggested the hash tag #notabrave love and I ran with it. We needed to combat the billboard assault and tell expectant mothers the reality of adoption. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and it certainly hasn’t been a “beautiful thing” to us. It has meant a lifetime of grief, sadness and loss. Not being able to parent your child is not beautiful. The emotions that surround it align well with the death of your child. However, BraveLove want to INCREASE domestic infant adoption in the U.S. That is their mission. They have invested thousands of dollars into this newest campaign. I can’t help but wonder how many mothers facing crisis situations would have been helped with the money spent on these billboards. How many women would not have to surrender their children with just the money that was spent on ONE billboard?

Most crisis situations, in domestic infant adoption, are for temporary financial situations. Even just $1000 would be enough to get a mother back on her feet and where she needs to be in order to not be eternally separated from her child. BraveLove gives the false impression that being a birthmother makes you a hero, selfless, and brave. The reality is much bleaker. My birthmother survey showed that the majority of “open” adoptions, sometime in the first 5 years, end up closing. Promises are broken and there is no way to know if your child is even alive.  Just the past couple of weeks, alone, I have had a birthmom friend learn of her teenage son’s suicide through a Facebook post, weeks after his death, and yes, it was an open turned closed adoption. Another mother learned, from her grown daughter who was relinquished that she was reunited with, that she had been sexually abused by a family member. This does not sound like a beautiful thing to me. Let’s not forget to factor in the first moms who commit suicide after promises have been broken.

Any organization that would like to increase family separation, instead of investing their “non-profit” dollars into helping keep families together, is a front for the adoption machine. They may not be an agency but they are part of the industry, no doubt about it. I wonder how many of their donations come from agencies themselves. Gladney is HUGE on BraveLove and, no doubt, has donated a ton of money whether indirectly through adoptive parents and staff or maybe even the entity themselves. I am not able to afford to pay that $125 to get the full report and donor list but they are tax-exempt and receive money from the government and private donors. So it comes full circle. Adoption agencies either directly or indirectly donate to BraveLove, BraveLove works tirelessly to convince women to surrender their babies, adoption agencies get more babies, adoption agencies make more money, adoption agencies encourage donations to BraveLove and the cycle begins again. Gladney Adoption Agency, in Texas, from the very start of BraveLove even admits to being a part of their campaign. Talk about a conflict of interest.

As many of you already know, I am a part of a different kind of organization currently working towards non-profit status. That is Saving Our Sisters. We don’t have any donations coming from anyone who stands to profit from us. We work solely for the good of others and all the donations received go to mothers in crisis so that they may be able to keep their children and successfully parent. We give them a leg up. We don’t offer to help by taking their babies away from them. We help the entire family unit.

So now that I’ve explained my beef with BraveLove, let me talk about our counter-campaign: #notabravelove

Since we don’t have big players donating tons of money to us the only thing us first moms could think to do was to take to social media and educate that way. I’d like to share with you some of the Twitter posts you will see when you search our hash tag (you can do so by clicking it above).

Here are some of the things hash tagged with #notabravelove

“Enough with calling mothers who relinquish a child for adoption brave. We were alone, afraid and without options.”

“you should have spent your billboard money keeping families together. Please. Stop.”

“When everyone tells you what you can’t do, and you believe them.”

“I was told that my daughter deserved more than me, that I wasn’t enough. They were wrong. I was. And so are/were you”

“Surrendering a baby to adoption is it’s an act of desperation.”

but a complicated mess creating the only documented form of grief that worsens with time. is rooted in heartache”

“When I cried out to keep my son I was told I was selfish

“Nothing brave, only heartache and pain in giving up my child for adoption.

“I had no choice. A proverbial gun was put to my baby’s head. I was told keeping her was the same as pulling the trigger.”

“Motherhood is scary-adoption agencies and lawyers make it scarier. They also lie, a lot. Unethical immoral shameful.”

“There is nothing about no other options. Its

These are some of the things hash tagged with #notbravelove

“If your goal is to increase infant surrender above the national average w/ words like “brave” & “heroic,” it’s . It’s coercion.”

“Mother’s Day – One of the most difficult days of the year for this adopted person.

“You can’t build one family without destroying another. Real families are grown, not built.”

“Birth Mother’s Day is yet another diversion from the truth that is adoption.”

“I’m no hero.I’m not selfless.I’m not brave.I didn’t do what’s best.I failed my Daughter & her siblings.”

“Giving my daughter up for adoption was anything but brave. I was scared & alone with no support.”

“No one(agency)asked me if my family knew of my pregnancy,no one enc/supported me to tell my parents-family I told 15 yrs ago”

“I lost faith in myself and reached for the wrong help.”

“I honor my found daughter, and losing her 37 yrs ago for the crime of not being married.”

thinks all mums apparently should give up their children to eager . What a message.

“I was lied to and manipulated, nothing I was told was for the good of my child or me. is a hoax.”

This horrid campaign was launched surrounding the weekend of Mother’s Day. Already first moms and adoptees are feeling stabby and the slightest things can trigger us. BraveLove had some first moms sign a “Birthmother’s Day” card and then used those signatures for their billboards. They are exploiting first moms to line the pocket books of adoption agencies (donors) and encourage expectant mothers to relinquish their children.

BraveLove claims this is an abortion thing. They want to prevent termination of pregnancies. It is either a facade or they are just that ignorant as Claudia over at Musings of the Lame has already pointed out. Abortion and adoption are two separate entities.  This campaign is to procure more babies by the adoption industry to make more money (please don’t tell me agencies are non-profit. They are still making big bucks) and to give babies to hopeful adoptive parents who society deems more “worthy” of these babies because they have more money.

So where does that leave us? I am writing today to let you all know that BraveLove’s billboards are going nowhere. They are up for all the country to see. We don’t have the financial resources that they do. They are a machine. The only way we can go to battle is to keep the #notabravelove campaign going. We CAN be the champion of the underdog. We can win this battle but we cannot waiver. Keep sharing the campaign, keep your voices going strong. Take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…wherever you can hash tag something publicly for all the world to see. If you’d like to remain anonymous, make an anonymous account, but get your voice out there. We will not falter. We will fight this machine, and we will be victorious.


The Modern Day Maternity Home

Most people believe the most distinguishing characteristic between the Baby Scoop Era (BSE) and today is the absence of those maternity homes where women were sent to discreetly give birth and have their babies taken from them against their will. However, this is not the defining end of the BSE. “Why?” you may ask. For many reasons but, to stay on the subject of this post, we want to focus on this falsehood. If the BSE ended with the dying out of maternity homes, we would still be in the BSE.

You’ve all heard the horror stories. All the time I hear, “I’m so glad adoptions are not done that way anymore” or “I know that horrible things were done to you but it isn’t like that anymore.” It saddens me that so many people in the world (most maybe?) are so ignorant to how things really work in this day and age. Even the ones who had fallen victim to it cannot see it for what it is. For the most part, like anything else, I think it is laziness in being willing to connect the dots. Or maybe some people just don’t have the intellectual capability to put those dots together, even if they can find them separately. Another issue is not wanting to believe that they, or someone they know, may have actually been used or have fallen victim to the practices of modern day adoption. Whatever the reasons, it truly and deeply saddens me.

We never really got rid of maternity homes. Sure, most of the ones that were operating in the 50’s and 60’s eventually shut down but with something so effective as separating a vulnerable pregnant woman from her family and any potential support system she may have, they never disappeared. They have just been transforming, morphing, through the years to fit the culture and be socially acceptable. They never went away. Ever.

Okay, so maybe I’m being too hard on the public in general. I, myself, had no idea maternity homes still existed until about a year ago. I lived in this happy little bubble and just believed what I was shown in the movies, on TV, in commercials, on the news. No one ever talked about women being sent to maternity homes to give birth and give up their babies. The only time I had ever heard about this was in reference to the BSE and most likely in the form of a heart-wrenching Lifetime movie of the week. Tissues by my bed I would watch the dramatized story unfold of the young unwed mother whose parents sent her away to a maternity home. She would give birth and say she wanted the baby but her parents would forbid her to come home with it. The social worker would come in with the papers and tell her she could sign the paper and give her child a happy life or she could walk out and be on the streets and they would call social services and have the baby taken away anyway for not being able to properly care for it. The tears would flow, I would go through a whole box of tissues and think to myself, “I’m so glad that never happened to me.” Yet, while I was watching that very movie, something similar, or maybe even identical, was happening to another young mother somewhere out there. And while you are reading this it is happening to someone else.

The demand for babies was very high during the BSE. Because of the social stigma, during that time period, of being pregnant out of wedlock, it was socially acceptable to hide these young mothers away to secretly have their babies. Most times no one even knew of the existence of the pregnancy or birth of a child. They had little choice, many being provided for by their parents while their parents were being advised of how horrible the illegitimacy of this child was and the shame it would bring to the family. These parents of unwed mothers were promised that with adoption the child would no longer be a bastard but, instead, become legitimate. Original birth records were then sealed, to “protect” the adoptee from being a little bastard, and people were expected to forget and move on. Because an illegitimate pregnancy was such a shameful thing in the culture back then, this method of practice was accepted.

Other Consequences of the Maternity Home

In addition to being forced into one of these homes, the separation of the young pregnant mother served another purpose. For one, it made it almost impossible for her to get help with her situation. The only support system she had was the one telling her adoption was the “best” thing for her and her baby. There were no other opinions to be had. That was it. Second, the parents of these women were not confronted with the very real pain and anguish their daughter would be going through. Out of sight, out of mind. It would be difficult for many of these parents to deny their child the right to keep hers after watching her anguish for 9 months because she did not want to give her baby up. It would be difficult to deny their child if they were with her while she labored, if they held their grand baby. The will to fight was broken in these women. They truly had no choice. And no one cared how they were treated because they were going to get their baby either way.

Women’s Rights

Along came a little thing called the women’s rights movement. Women were burning bras, having sex, getting pregnant outside of marriage, getting jobs – O.M.G. No way.  The culture shifted. It was a slow but gradual shift. It was suddenly not unacceptable to be pregnant outside of marriage. There were still some groups of people who were appalled by it (and there continues to be those today) but the majority of people were okay with it. Suddenly an illegitimate child was not such a big deal. We don’t even use the word “illegitimate” to describe a person born out of wedlock anymore. Shoot, I’m only using it to get a feel for the context of that era. If I hear the phrase “illegitimate baby” today I think of babies who were taken from their natural parent(s) through coercion, manipulation or unethical practices. Maybe one of the totally able-bodied fathers whose rights were terminated when the expectant mom was sent to another state to live in a maternity home until she delivered, maybe someone who had a social worker sit on there lap (practically) and tell them to sign their rights away. This is what I think of when I think of illegitimate babies. Illegitimately gained by the adoption industry. So, what do you do if your job is in the adoption industry and all of a sudden it’s totally acceptable for women to just go ahead and have babies when they aren’t married? You aren’t allowed to use any of the tactics that worked before to get the goods. You have to do a TOTAL 180 in this field. Since the expectant mother now has all of the control you need to seduce* her and make her believe that you really care about her and her child. You need to make her think that adoption is the best thing she can possibly do for her child. You need to put the proverbial gun to her unborn baby’s head.

You do know one thing, though. It is still a good thing to separate a vulnerable young woman from any potential support system she may have that would enable her to keep her baby. The fact that she is in a crisis pregnancy will mean that she is, most likely, facing a difficult financial situation. What’s the best way to lure or seduce her into the world of adoption? Offer her free housing. On site. Make it a real sweet deal.

Modern Day Maternity Homes

Before writing this article, I knew where I wanted to go with it. I had heard all the stories. I have a pretty good idea of what goes on. I had to do some research, however, if I wanted to lend any kind of credibility to what I was saying. I could tell you all day long that this birthmom told me this and that first mom told me that. I have to back it up with real facts. Well, since I’m not pregnant and in a crisis situation the facts that I have to work with is what these agencies advertise. I hope that will suffice since they aren’t talking about it any time soon.

The first thing you should know is that if you Google “maternity homes” or “unwed mothers homes” on Google you will come up with a mixed bag of results. Some will be articles about the BSE and some will be actual maternity homes that are operating today. This was actually quite shocking to me. I looked up “maternity homes” about 10 years ago and there was very little to go on in regards to modern-day ones. Only Bethany and Gladney (agencies) showed up as real maternity homes. Here are the Google results for the time period 2000-2005 when you search for “unwed mothers homes.”

I have seriously wondered why there would be more maternity homes in existence today than there was 10 years ago. However, I could not make the assumption that just because they were not being advertised on the internet did not mean they didn’t exist. Most likely they, like the ones before them, were just not talked about unless you were “that girl” or “that family” who had a use for one. I digress.

Today a search for either of those phrases brings a great variety of results. Even a search for “pregnant free housing” will give you results of modern-day maternity homes. These specific search words bring up the “posh” maternity homes. They have really done well in the seduction part. Let’s take, for instance, Adoption Network Law Center in California. Their free housing is advertised as, “a safe, secure and supervised environment for women in need of living assistance.” They also boast “a spacious living area, large swimming pool and an extensive exercise facility with the latest equipment available.” Now this line really got me. From their website: “These facilities allow Birthmothers to be discreet and avoid conflict with family and friends about their decision.” 1) An expectant mother is NOT a birthmother until she has terminated her parental rights. Calling her a birthmother before then, in my opinion, is a form of coercion. It puts her mind in the place that she has to relinquish her child. After all, she is already a birthmother. She has already made this decision. WRONG. My agency told me that while I had already made an adoption decision, I would have to reevaluate that decision again once my baby was born because my feelings may change and that was okay. THAT is ethical and honest. 2) Supposedly, under the guise of protecting the expectant mother from her family (privacy), they are removing her from the only support system she may have that actually gives a hoot whether she gives up that baby. In other words, “We don’t want anyone to talk you out of handing over this baby to us.”  You all should seriously check out their “birthmother” digs. Beverly Hills style apartments – supervised of course.

I cannot confirm, like I said – I’ve never lived in one of these homes, but have been told stories of mother’s changing their minds while living at the maternity home. They were told to sign their rights over or be sued for the tens of thousands of dollars for the living expenses that were paid for on their behalf. I have more than just “heard” these stories. A few weeks back we had one of these women come to our group for help. She didn’t know what to do because she was living there and had changed her mind. If these places really wanted to help you make an informed choice, the “best” choice for you and your baby they wouldn’t hold a lawsuit over your head for changing your mind.

I won’t go into detail of each one of these homes I have found but I will offer some links if you care to check them out yourselves. Basically they all say the same thing, in my opinion.

The Adoption Foundation

Family to Family Adoptions

Courageous Choice (note the coercion even in the name!)

Hannah House

Gladney Center for Adoption

Bethany Christian Services – Notice they are VERY happy that their maternity home, Bethany House, is at full capacity (of course they are)!

And some of these homes claim to just help women facing unplanned pregnancies. They say they support you no matter what your decision. Yet, they offer adoption services. I feel that this is even more coercive and unethical as it lures (seduces*) women into the environment only to be bombarded with how great adoption is as an option. They can even reel in women who were never even contemplating adoption and plant that seed. Here are some of those.

Annunciation Maternity Home

Solve Maternity Homes

Highland Maternity Home

Perry Center

And this article boasts about the 400 maternity homes nationwide!!

It is so pervasive, to me, to offer women help with their crisis pregnancy when you know full well that the moment she walks through that door that all you will do is plant the seed of adoption and water it subtly with what you know she needs to hear to have the best chance at gaining that infant to give to someone else who wants it. That is SO SO wrong. When the intentions of your “help” come with strings attached then it no longer becomes a gesture of true kindness. It becomes a perverted version of what kindness and generosity really means.

And then, on rare occasions, you find gems. Diamonds in the rough. An example of one of these is Kathy DiFore’s place called Several Sources Shelter. Not run by an agency. Not perverted by the adoption industry. Kathy has absolutely no stake in any of these girls lives and whether their baby is given up. You may have seen the movie, “Gimme Shelter” and already know the dramatized version of Kathy’s story. Her place offers pregnancy shelters, monthly care packages, daytime shelter, a sonogram center and an education center. She started this program in her OWN home with her OWN money. She does have religion in her program, but doesn’t push it and certainly doesn’t use it to convince these young, pregnant mothers that adoption is their “best” choice. Through her program young, pregnant women are given the chance they need (and help) to parent their babies and give themselves and their child a good life. So why is it that for every one of Kathy’s places that I find there are 200 maternity homes that are adoption-centered? Why aren’t these good “christian” agencies/people doing what Kathy has done? Why aren’t they providing shelter to pregnant women so they can parent their babies? Why? Why are places like this almost non-existent. Why are women being fooled into moving into a place that they think is like Kathy’s place when, in reality, the goal is for adoption? How can all these good “christian” services do this? It’s an atrocity. Follow the money…the root of all evil. No matter how “christian” you think you may be.

My friends, it seems that for a while the rights of the expectant mother considering adoption had begun to come into a clearer picture. The adoption industry knew well to stay aligned with the women’s rights movement. But, as we have seen, it was all for show. I am afraid that more and more of these homes are popping up and we are, again, reverting back to the dark days of the BSE. Not in the way that we know it. In a more pervasive way. Instead of physically keeping women from parenting their children, we are now using psychological mind games. And don’t for a second believe that this industry has not consorted with the best of the best to understand the human mind and the best way to put it in the mind-set of “I’m not good for my baby. Other people will be better.” Do not believe the rhetoric. Do not believe the propaganda set forth before your eyes. It is all a show. It is smoke and mirrors. Behind the curtain lies the truth. The truth lies within the ones who are now old enough to speak for themselves about the challenges they have faced going through life as an adoptee. The truth lies within the women who live it, everyday. Even the ones who are not yet ready to admit it to themselves because it would break them so much it would be unbearable. While you have read this article, a mother has given birth at a maternity home….

*Seduce – I would like to thank a fellow first mom friend for the use of this word. I had never thought about how appropriate it really is for how the agencies “woo” expectant mothers.