Operation Matthew 6:25-34

Welcome to one of the most coercive pre-adoptive stories you will ever read. Take a seat and prepare to look through a “story book” that defines coercion and duress in expectant mothers. I almost titled this post “Faces of Adoption Coercion: Level Infinity.”

Meet Tuesday Laine Watson and her husband, Josh. Tuesday is very young, in her 20’s and is hoping to adopt a young woman’s baby when it is born this May. Someone she knew from her past, according to Tuesday’s public Facebook profile. However, Tuesday didn’t get the memo that she is a “hopeful” adoptive parent. She has already bestowed upon herself the title of “mother” to a baby yet to be born. For months now. Complete with parking in expectant mother parking spaces, having an elaborate baby shower, naming the baby, and posting about “her” child all over the inter webs. 

To make matters worse, Tuesday is friends with this expectant mother on Facebook and she sees all these posts. Shoot, Tuesday even tags her in some. Posts about how selfless her “birth” mom is (even though she is not yet a birthmom). Posts about how this emom is giving her this tremendous gift. You know. Posts that would make this emom, we’ll call her Sunday (Keeping in theme with the days of the week), feel a gut wrenching guilt should she decide she would indeed like to parent HER baby. Because Tuesday has already laid claim to this baby and leaves little room for Sunday to do the same. 

Tuesday has made it vehemently clear that SHE is the mother to this child and not Sunday. Sunday is simply the vessel of birth. 

I could go on for ages about the need for adoption education in Tuesday’s life for the sake of this child should she indeed adopt her. But anyone reading this will already know what I mean when I’m done. 

I’ll let Tuesday’s words speak for themselves. 

Fundraising for adoption fees instead of to help a mother keep her child and not face immense heartbreak the rest of her life.

Photo of expectant mother “Sunday”

She “deserves” a baby.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Photo courtesy of Facebook


Still with me?

Some questions. 

How is Sunday supposed to back out of this if she decides she wants to parent? She has been reading these things for months. I would speculate that she thinks God doesn’t want her to have her baby and to hurt Tuesday by parenting her child means she would not be doing right by God. 

How can Sunday make an informed decision with no one guiding her or exploring other options with her?

How is this even happening? 

Dear Tuesday,

You deleted the comment I left on your blog. You silenced my voice. How long before you silence Sunday’s? It appears you believe you are entitled to her child. From past experiences I’ve found that usually leads to any kind of open adoption closing since the adoptive mother’s insecurities supersede the needs of the adopted child. Have you even researched how to parent an adopted child?

Since you decided to silence me on YOUR blog, I’ve decided that I will speak my peace on MINE. 

Here is the comment I left that you would not approve. View the blog post this comment was intended for HERE.

Or here:

https://anotherrandomtuesday.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/first-blog-post/

“You’re right. God doesn’t make mistakes. And he certainly doesn’t plan for another woman to suffer lifelong immeasurable pain to fulfill the selfish desires of another woman. No, he doesn’t do that. God makes provisions in the Bible for women who are struggling. He commands others to care for them, not help themselves to their babies. 

Nowhere in the Bible will you find an instance of a woman planning to give her unborn child to another woman because she is poor. Modern day domestic infant adoption doesn’t exist in the Bible. Because God doesn’t facilitate or plan this. 

No, what you should be doing is helping this mother keep her baby. You know, the mother you say you care about so much. But you only care about her if you get her baby. 

Look in the mirror. Bette yet, listen to what God is telling you. Because he isn’t telling you to help this pregnant mother by taking her baby. Gods plan doesn’t involve pain like that for her.

His plan doesn’t involve pain like that for you, either. But while there is nothing you can do to resolve the pain of infertility, there is something you can do to save this mother, and her child, the lifelong pain of separation. 

You worry you won’t be enough. I’ll answer that for you right now. You won’t be. An adopted child will always straddle two worlds, never FULLY belonging to either. They will see the life they should have had and the life they were given. And they will struggle. You can never be enough because every adoption begins with a loss. Every. Single. One. The loss of the adoptees first family and the loss of the child to the first family. 

If you really truly believe in Gods plan you know what he says about taking care of the poor and needy. 

Is this unborn child’s life in danger?

Will this unborn child be a true orphan (both of his parents will be deceased)?

Will this unborn child be in physical danger if she stays with her mother?

If the answer is “no” to these questions this is not Gods plan. 

Help this mother KEEP her baby. 

Or at least admit God has nothing to do with it. You want a baby. You don’t care what God commands you to do. The least you could do is be honest. 

One day you’ll have to answer for it. And when He asks you why you manipulated His word for your own selfish desires what will you answer?”

-——————

So what is Operation Matthew 6:25-34? 

I need all of you for this one and time is running short. Please email me at musingsofabirthmom@gmail.com or visit my Facebook page and send a message:

Musings of a Birthmom

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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:
Tim ElderInfantadoptionguide.com
Tawnya McPhetridge

Support”

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 InfantAdoptionGuide.com, 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-sponsor

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)

original-question

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melissa-rules

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melissa-questioned

melissa discussion between 1 and 2.jpg

 

 

 

emom.jpg

THIS IS AN EXPECTANT MOTHER CONSIDERING ADOPTION IN THIS GROUP

melissa-argueresponder-1-and-melissa

why-the-rules-melissa

why-the-rules-melissawhy-censor

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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.

2nd-hand-knowledge-unrelated-to-thread

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)

me-about-melissa

experience as a birthmom part 1.jpg

Then other admins chimed in.

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It just goes on and on and on and on.

16359263_10158104446005484_1143153570_n16395473_10158104446850484_444980654_n

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.

16402193_10158104446425484_2080474542_nBu16441296_10158104446630484_395588121_n

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.

podcast-tim-elder

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:

aa

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/663901877106383/

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.

 

How Reliable Is A Home Study? Amber Garrott / Amber Jo: Example Of Its Flaws

*Update: In a shameful attempt to disguise who she is, assumedly because of this blog post, Amber Garrott has changed her profile picture and name on Facebook. She is now “Amber Jo” and her profile can be found HERE.*

image

When an expectant mother relinquishes her child for adoption she is assured that she is giving her child a “better” life. In America, every family that adopts a child must obtain an approved home study from a licensed social worker or case worker. According to the government site Child Welfare, the home study has 3 purposes:

• Educate and prepare the prospective family for adoption

• Evaluate the capability and suitability of the prospective family to adopt

• Gather information about the prospective adoptive family that will help a social worker match the family with a child or youth whose needs they can best meet (applicable to adoptions in which public child welfare agencies are involved)

For private or domestic infant adoption, a home study can be conducted through a private social worker, not a licensed state worker (think foster to adopt).

Because of the home study process, expectant mothers are assured that every step has been taken to assure this is a suitable and capable home for their child. It is often what is given in lieu of an expectant mother conducting her own research into the family. Most expectant moms don’t have the luxury (or aren’t given the chance) to inspect a prospective adoptive family’s home, obtain their social security numbers or other information to run a background check, obtain medical information from a doctor who provides a physical to assure the prospective parents are in good health, or to interview friends, neighbors, or family members to get a feel for what kind of parents they would be. The home study is supposed to take care of all of this.

How reliable is a home study?

Certainly home studies are very thorough. The technical aspects assure that there are no obvious red flags. Home study criteria will vary from state to state, agency to agency, social worker to social worker. While some things are requirements in every state, such as a background check, other things go above and beyond the minimum requirements and are instituted by the person or organization conducting the home study. A huge component of passing a home study will rely on the judgment of the social worker conducting the home study. This person will get a feel for the family and make a recommendation based on information they have obtained from family and friends, home visits, and the general feeling they get from the prospective adoptive parents. Regardless of all of this, however, home studies are not iron clad or fool-proof. Social workers are human beings and, let’s face it, some just aren’t good judges of character. Also consider that while someone has no history of abuse or neglect, it does not mean they don’t have the potential for it once they are charged with the care-taking of raising another human being. Yet, the home study is the expectant mother’s assurance that their child will be raised in a suitable and capable home.

I am not asserting that all adoptive parents are abusive or neglectful. In fact, I’d say that the majority are not. Just as the majority of natural parents are not. However, according to studies, adopted and step children are more likely to be abused by their adoptive or step parents because of a psychological phenomenon known as the “Cinderella Effect.” This study asserts that biology naturally inclines one to not abuse their own offspring. In reported cases of child abuse, according to the National Center for Health Research, 85% of abuse victims were abused by a biological parent and 1% were abused by an adoptive parent. While those numbers seem to scream that it is safer to be adopted, that knee-jerk reaction would be false. You must take into consideration that less than 2% of the population is adopted while 98% of the population resides with at least one biological parent. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all cases, maybe not even most, of abuse and neglect are actually reported. These statistics back up my assertion that most parents (adoptive or natural) do not abuse or neglect their children.

Biological parents don’t require a home study to keep their children, so why should adoptive parents be held to a higher standard?

If we are talking about placing a child in a permanent home, as a conscious decision, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that child is in a safe, loving, capable, home. Many children who are adopted have already come from situations of abuse and neglect and those children who are adopted at birth, as a conscious decision made by an expectant parent, should have the same standards applied to their living situation if they are not to stay with their natural families. An expectant parent, facing a crisis situation, does not likely have the resources to investigate a family of her choosing to make sure they are safe for her child.  For those mothers who didn’t have the luxury to choose a family or who were forced to give up their child, they didn’t even know who to investigate to begin that process. The home study is supposed to be the golden crown. The thing that assures everyone that this child will have a “better” life and be loved, cherished, and protected.

So why do we keep hearing about abused adoptees ? Because it’s not fool-proof. Because it is subject to the expertise of social workers and their judgment of character. Because it is flawed. Unfortunately it is the best we can do. Because of that, expectant parents that are considering adoption should know that it is not fool proof so they can make a sound and informed choice about the fate of their child. When contacting an adoption agency they will be reassured that the families they are shown are all safe, competent, loving and have an approved home study!!  They are not told that home studies are not always concrete and that they can only cover so much territory.

I am, by no means, judging parents who suffer from mental illness, or other issues. Some of these parents do very well with the right support system in place. However, if you want to give your child a “better life” then you probably wouldn’t want to consider someone with a mental illness or addiction problem raising your child. Especially if your reasons for giving your child up, in the first place, were because of your own addiction struggle.

 Meet Amber Garrott

Amber engaged with a first mom in a forum that had nothing to do with adoption. A first mom expressed her regret about the adoption of her child when the adoptive parents failed to follow through on promises made and, after 11 years, still had not told the child she was adopted. Amber felt the need, as a proclaimed adoptive parent, to dismiss this first mom’s lived experience and correct her.

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In addition to being dismissive and correcting the first mom, Amber also seems proud that she has cut contact off with her child’s natural parents. I certainly understand keeping children away from people, no matter who they are, who are unhealthy, but the way Amber presents herself and her story rubs me the wrong way. I couldn’t figure out exactly why until I began reading more of her comments.

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In response to the first mom taking issue with her proudly proclaiming she cut off bio parents.

You certainly do, Amber. I don’t disagree. But I still sense something is amiss.

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Well, that’s a low blow. I’m not sure why Amber didn’t expect what came next. A mother expresses her grief and regret and, right away, Amber decides she needs to defend adoption instead of sympathizing. Then she adds insult to injury if you read between the lines.  It’s a common scenario. All first moms are either saints or sinners, depending on what you’re talking about. You’re a “selfless, brave, saint” for giving your child up to have a “better” life or you’re a dirty sinner for not taking responsibility and parenting your child.

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6 months sober before relinquishing, then 3 months after relapse. Hmm. Maybe the trauma of relinquishing her child was too much to bear ? I’d like to also point out that Amber has pictures of her and her child’s first mom as recently as 6 weeks ago on her Facebook page. *EDIT – Amber has contacted me and asserts her pictures with whom she calls her “babysmomma” are not her child’s first mom. She has also now deactivated her Facebook page.* First mom, in one of them, looks like she’s sipping on something intoxicating.   Way to go, Amber!  If your child’s first mom is an addict then why are you feeding her margaritas ?

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Another low blow. I’m sure there’s more to the story that’s not being told, too. But not by the first mom. Amber is ALWAYS honest and open with her child’s first mom. Remember that.

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Because if an adoptive parents breaks promises it must ALWAYS be the first mom’s fault.  Because they would never just do it because they’re insecure or had no intentions of keeping promises to begin with, right Amber  ?

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And here it is.  Straight from the horse ‘s mouth. This is in response to the first mom saying her child has no idea she’s even adopted. YOU LOSE THAT RIGHT TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT WHEN YOU SIGNED YOUR RIGHTS AWAY. Remember that when you’re considering adoption.

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I thought agencies and attorneys were supposed to protect those expectant mothers, no ?They’re supposed to help them make an “informed” choice. Let’s see what else Amber has had to say about herself.

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A “smidge ” domestic violence ? She couldn’t stop herself ? Holes in the wall from her ? Son needs to go back up for adoption ?  Yet she has the nerve to judge other women, including her child’s first mother. This is what passed a home study.

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But I thought her child’s first mom was the drug addict ?

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Her husband had her put on a 72 hour psych hold  ? She should win mother of the year ! This child is surely getting a MUCH better life than he would have with his first mom.

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Let’s revisit her reasoning for cutting off the first parents. She had good reason, remember ?  She’s very honest with her child’s first mom. Maybe Amber should consider cutting herself off – with good reason. Did you catch that her husband’s a cop ? Is that how she passed a home study ? Is that why she gets away with it ?  The only “police department” page that Amber has liked on her Facebook page is that of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.

I will reiterate, I am not claiming that all or most adoptive parents are abusive, drug addicts, or unstable.   What I AM saying is that expectant parents, considering adoption, need to understand that, like Amber said,  you should educate yourself a little better before making such a life-altering decision. I sure know that if I knew that my child could have got parents like  Amber, I would have run the other way.

INFORMED CONSENT is NOT what agencies, social workers, attorneys, prospective adoptive parents, the media is giving you.  Anyone whose livelihood relies on adoption (see, their job, their income) is not going to give you these ugly details. It is up to you to decide if you can live with this risk – if you’re okay with this being the potential outcome.  Your child, unfortunately, can’t decide for you. They have no choice at all.

 

 

 

 

‘Tis The Season – An SOS Call To Action

SOS 2015 Sponsor a Saved Family

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us!Stacey

Saving Our Sisters has helped dozens of families stay together over the last 4 years. Helping mothers preserve their holiday traditions, by passing them on to their children, is just one blessing that SOS has been able to provide.  Which, is to say the least, priceless.  11143146_921721804566799_2089511665001540486_nWe have said, countless times, that it is not enough to help a mom who has changed her mind and decided to parent her child instead of relinquishing her child to adoption.  What is enough you ask?  Ongoing support is necessary to make sure that she knows and uses the tools to find the resources and options that are available to her, to ensure that she is able to conquer anything that is thrown at her, and that her success will last for generations in her family to come.  This is something that SOS has been and still is very committed to.  How can we define success?  We believe that successful parenting includes a safe, stable, loving home with the local support nearby to ensure basic necessities of the family unit are met. Success, in our eyes, does not equate to fancy homes, trendy clothes, or all of the newest gadgets. SarahSuccess is the simple things in life, and these families, who were at one point this year in such a crisis that they considered losing a child, (usually due to financial issues and afraid to ask for support), already have the simple things.  They have love, they have siblings, they have asked and received support, and………they have each other.April

While some may not consider a warm and joyful holiday season to be a basic necessity, we do believe it adds to the joy of the ‘in tact’ family.  It is, often times, the very thing that mothers were worried about when they were considering adoption for their new addition to the family.  Not being able to provide the ‘things’.  Dwayne N KarlyNo mother wants to go to bed on Christmas Eve with nothing on or under the tree for their children. In some cases, this could be the catalyst of a shattered childhood fantasy – Santa Claus. “How can Santa Claus be real when he visited everyone else’s house but not mine?”  The reality is this – while we are ensuring that basic Cheyennenecessities are met and families have support, warm and safe homes to grow and love in, the spirit of the holiday season moves us to provide a little bit extra for these moms and their families.  A nice warm meal, a few new items of clothing, and a toy or two for the kids to open on Christmas morning. Providing these things for their families, on their own, is sometimes just not possible.  Our moms from this year already had children when they came to us for help.  Your sponsorship will include giving these kids, these in tact families, a joyous Christmas.

JaimeeThis year, just as in the past 3, we’d like to announce the 3rd Annual Sponsor a Saved Family. The families that will be sponsored have already been saved through the SOS network in 2015. You can see some of their pictures throughout this post.  We would like to bless all the families that found SOS, and for that to happen we need your help.

Is it enough to just help them parent their baby?  Or should we show our commitment to them when they are least expecting it?  Taking some ofBubbles the stress off of purchasing even one gift for their kids means the world to these mothers.  Helping them to see their children happy together, and that they are sharing their new baby’s 1st Christmas confirms to them, “You did the right thing.  We have your back.” This is the message we want to send.

 

Every little bit will make a huge difference if we all do this together for these families. You can also have confidence that your donation, every Kalenpenny of it, will truly go for something amazing.  The pictures will be shared, and just like when their babies were born throughout the year, will be worth a thousand words.

There are some ‘signature’ things that SOS has been doing over the last few years that we would like to continue doing with your help of course.  We purchase a holiday meal to be delivered from Honey Baked Ham.  honey bakedWe put together a ‘Night Before Christmas’ movie themed family gift – complete with new pajamas for each of the kids, a Christmas themed movie, and of course popcorn and candy!   We get them a family photo package at a local JcPenney or the like, this is something that they wouldn’t be able to afford.  We have purchased a nice ‘pamper item’ for mom, maybe a robe, or a gift certificate for a spa service of her choice.  Last but not least, we purchase 1 gift for each of the children in the family.

You can help sponsor a saved family in two ways.  1)  If you want to shop, wrap and ship a gift, please send an email to Lynn at wsbirthmom@gmail.com so she can keep gifts ‘even’ across the children and families and coordinate with others who want to donate this route   2)  Send a cash donation to the CUB website and Saving Our Sisterslet the SOS organizers handle the shopping, wrapping and shipping of the holiday meals.

 

‘TIS THE SEASON!!!

Dying To Breastfeed

We all know there is a huge debate in the adoption community about the ethics surrounding breastfeeding in adoptive mothers. Some have even gone so far as to call this practice child abuse. The reasons stated for this will not be the same reasons that I give, however, I understand the sentiment. I have more concrete reasons for considering this child abuse. There are a wide array of reasons that people argue for and against breastfeeding in adoptive mothers. My argument will be more specific and will follow simple medical logic. Regardless of your feelings on adoption, I would hope that with facts in hand you will all see how truly horrid breastfeeding is when it comes to adoptive mothers.

First let’s take a look at how breast milk is produced in a pregnant/post-natal mother. We all know that our bodies are designed to nurture our children. The natural process includes many things and the production of breast milk needed to sustain a newborn is definitely one of the major ones.

An article on Baby Center gives a general run down on the process. I’ll summarize. It all starts with the placenta. The placenta is the life force of the unborn child. It provides it with all the nutrients it needs to grow before birth. The placenta stimulates hormones that trigger a chain of events in a pregnant woman’s body that result in the production of breast milk. Prolactin is the essential hormone in order for the final steps to take place. The production of Prolactin takes place in the pituitary gland and brain (again, from a complex set of events that started with the placenta). Without Prolactin, there is no breast milk.

This is what a woman’s body does during pregnancy. A chain of complex events is kicked off to make sure there is a milk supply to nurture that infant after the pregnancy ends. This is nature’s way. Breast feeding in adoptive mother’s is man’s way.

Wet nurses were often used during times in our human history when they were needed for various reasons. We did not have bottles and formula and to ensure the survival of an infant whose mother was not able, for a variety of reasons, to breast feed, wet nurses were often employed. It is true that wet nurses were also used by the wealthy, but that is a subject for another day. It is important to point out that the wet nurses of our yester-years produced milk naturally. These were women who had already born children and then continued to nurse so their milk supply was always at an appropriate level. The more you nurse, the more milk you will have. Supply and demand and your body knows how much to make.

Why do adoptive mothers want to breast feed babies that they did not give birth to?

Many will tell you the reason is for the health benefits of breast-feeding. Breast fed babies are generally smarter, healthier, and are given a better start due to important antibodies that are passed on to the child through the mother’s milk. But what if the adoptive mother’s milk was toxic? What if it had the potential to not only kill the adoptive mother but also the nursing infant? Are the health benefits of breastfeeding versus formula still there? Which would be safer? Along with the health benefits, many will also tell you that the bonding that comes with breastfeeding is something that is important to them. Valid point but it is sort of hard to bond with your new baby if you are dead, or worse, they are dead.

It is important to point out that formula fed babies are not, on average, dumb, unhealthy, or set on a path of fated illnesses for the rest of their lives. A formula fed baby can be healthy, happy, and nourished.

How is it possible for an adoptive mother to breastfeed if they have not gone through the natural process of pregnancy to induce lactation?

There are a variety of ways to induce lactation. There are “natural” methods that a woman can use to “trick” their bodies into milk production. These methods can include stimulation of the nipples (using a breast pump to simulate breast-feeding), herbal teas, and a variety of other benign things. These “natural” methods of induction of lactation, however, are not nearly as successful as the preferred method – artificial drugs. On average, according to an Oxford journal, the “natural” method of inducting lactation is only about 50% effective while using artificial drugs to induce lactation are about 89% effective. If you are a hopeful adoptive parent and are set on breastfeeding which statistic do you choose? Well, given all the information, any sane person would take their chances with the 50%. This is where that “health benefits and bonding” excuse for wanting to breastfeed come into question. Would you choose the method that will give you an 89% success rate over the 50% success rate if you were aware of the risks involved with that higher rate?

I don’t believe for one second that these “breastfeeding adoptive mothers” are not aware of every single health risk that comes with artificially inducing lactation. They have done their research into every orifice of the breastfeeding dilemma. If I could find this information with a few key strokes and clicks then surely they have as well. Those that continue to follow this path are endangering their life as well as the child they hope to adopt. This certainly isn’t what’s “best” for baby.

How many expectant mothers are aware that the “awesome” and “deserving” set of parents they have chosen to adopt their baby may be putting their child’s life at risk simply because they want to have a child that is “as if” born to them, including the breastfeeding aspect. Don’t give me the bull about health benefits and bonding when you know perfectly well the dangers that come with it. It now becomes about YOU and YOU alone. It becomes about your crazed desire to pretend that you have given birth to this child. It becomes about an obsession so great that you are willing to risk your life and the life of the baby to fulfill it.

Some of you may be puzzled right now and are wondering what I’m talking about. I apologize. It will soon become clear.

What drug is given to induce lactation in women who are adopting and wish to breastfeed?

Domperidone.

In fact, a woman in an adoption group who is hoping to adopt posed the question about breastfeeding. The women in the group happily and eagerly replied citing Domperidone as the way to go. One woman even brags about how she takes 80 mg a day and her milk supply is great! She only needs to supplement with a bottle once or twice a day. See for yourself.

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Because I have breastfed four babies (and dutifully pumped for the one I relinquished) I began to wonder if this drug is passed through breast milk and how dangerous it may be. Any breastfeeding mom will tell you that before they take any medications or drugs they will always check with their doctor to make sure it’s safe. Not all drugs cross through and go into the breast milk and not all drugs are harmful to the baby. Out of curiosity I decided to go to Google. That’s how I found what I found. It was the first result I got. This is why I don’t believe for a second that these breastfeeding adoptive mothers aren’t privy to the information that I have found. It isn’t a national secret. It’s readily available, and the first search result at that, just by typing “Domperidone breastfeeding” into the google search bar. So what did I find?

Well, as it turns out, for reasons of inducing lactation, the FDA has BANNED prescribing Domperidone. It’s illegal to import it into the country and only one place is even authorized, in the whole United States, to produce it – and not for lactation. This ban is in place because of the health risks, which we’ll get into shortly.

This got me wondering….who are these doctors that are prescribing this for lactation against the FDA rules? It’s illegal to import and the FDA says it cannot be prescribed for lactation. Why are these doctors prescribing it? Didn’t they take an oath? One that says, “first do no harm?” Harm is exactly what they could be doing and for what? Is it life-threatening for an adoptive mother to NOT breastfeed? No. So why would a doctor, sworn to first do no harm, prescribe a medication that has the potential to kill the adoptive mother and the baby she is nursing?

Read for yourself:

“Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stresses that domperidone is not an FDA-approved drug, and that it may not be legally marketed in the US. In June 2004, FDA warned compounding pharmacies and firms that supply domperidone for use in compounding that it is illegal to compound domperidone. In addition, FDA put into place an import alert permitting FDA personnel to detain domperidone shipments of bulk ingredients and shipments of finished drug products offered for importation without an active investigational new drug application. These actions resulted from FDA’s concern about the potential health risks associated with the use of domperidone in lactating women. These risks include cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death.

Although domperidone is not FDA approved, FDA recognizes there are some patients with severe gastrointestinal motility disorders that are refractory to standard therapy who may benefit from the use of domperidone and in whom the benefits of the drug may outweigh its risks. Domperidone is available to these patients through an Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs program. Under this program, domperidone may be obtained only from certain specified suppliers and authorization must be obtained prior to the importation, interstate shipment, and administration of the drug. According to FDA, currently the only authorized supplier of the drug is Dougherty’s Pharmacy in Dallas, TX.

Boards observing that an entity may be obtaining or compounding domperidone under circumstances not in compliance with FDA regulations are encouraged by the agency to report any concerns. Pharmacists may direct any questions to the FDA Division of Drug Information by sending an e-mail to druginfo@fda.hhs.gov or by calling 855/543-3784 or 301/796-3400.”

This article was published on July 31, 2013. The original warning letter was issued in 2004. Because compliance was not being met, they had to issue an additional warning to stress what was in the original one.

Yet, here we have a whole group of women talking about how they take it everyday to breastfeed their adopted children. We have them telling a hopeful adoptive mom to join a support group online about adoptive breastfeeding – most likely so they can get more information about this “miracle drug.” We even have them giving out the names of places overseas that they can order it from. Can anyone spell illegal? Felony?

(Side note: I have forwarded the original messages, along with names that have been blacked out here, and the links to these women’s Facebook pages to the email address provided by the FDA in the letter)

So why is this drug banned by the FDA? Let’s take a look at another article written by a cardiologist. She sites that sudden cardiac arrest is one of the deadly side effects of Domperidone. She states that it IS transmitted through breast milk. She also questions the increasing instances of SIDS that have happened in more recent years that happen to correlate with the increasing number of adoptive mothers who are inducing lactation artificially.

Let me ask you a question. If I purposely ingesting drugs that I knew could potentially kill my child what would happen to me? Would child and family services show up at my door and seize my baby? If something bad did happen would I go to prison for murder? Let me remind you of a story from a little over a year ago. A mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison because she breastfed her baby while on Morphine and Klonopin. The 6-week old baby died. She landed in prison, as she should be, because those drugs were detectable in the baby’s system. Domperidone would surely be detectable as well, but it’s not a narcotic. Regardless of the known dangers – sudden cardiac arrest – women breastfeeding while taking this drug are not investigated. I think the good cardiologist has a point when she questions SIDS deaths.

And I quote: “If the risk to the mother isn’t enough, there’s a risk to the baby too. Domperidone is transferred in breast milk (LC’s often deny this!) and infants are exquisitely sensitive to its effect. How many ‘SIDS’ cases out there are in fact sudden cardiac deaths from arrythmias caused by maternal domperidone use?”

My question is WHY? Why would women take something known to be potentially fatal to their infant? Why are adoptive mothers passing home studies and getting approved to go ahead with an adoption when they are CLEARLY putting their infant at risk of death for an unnecessary reason by taking this drug? This is child endangerment – clear and concise child endangerment. A mother is willingly and knowingly ingesting a drug that is dangerous and then feeding this drug to her child, knowing the potential harm it could cause.

Why?

Because the fantasy and obsession to pretend that she gave birth to that child is so great that she is willing to go to any length, take any risk, to sustain it. You cannot tell me a whole bunch of mushy gushy healthy reasons you wish to breastfeed and have me believe it when the method you are using to induce lactation could KILL that child. Then it’s about you – and only you.

When you are faced with someone arguing with you about how great it is that adoptive mothers want to breastfeed, remind them that none of those reasons are valid if they choose to induce lactation artificially. Then it becomes child abuse. Nothing less than child abuse.