To The Mothers; Hope and Peace on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to you. Yes, you. For nine months you grew a tiny human being inside of you, but it’s so much more than that. You nurtured your child every time you made the decision to forego that glass of wine and to eat healthy foods. You protected your child – at every doctor’s appointment to make sure things were okay, for every decision you made that put your comfort level below the health and well-being of your child. For nine months you talked to your child, felt your child move, sang to your child, maybe you even slept in a recliner because by the ninth month of pregnancy a bed was just too uncomfortable.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. To the mothers who prayed to the porcelain god those first few months, and even some beyond that; to the mothers who endured sticks and pricks and unpleasant internal exams; to the mothers who adored the life growing inside of them, who got upset when their babies would hiccup, from within them, and there was nothing more they could do to comfort them, when their kicks became frantic, except to talk and sway; to the mothers who had a glow and the mothers who had acne; to the mothers whose bodies will never look the same in a bikini because of the stripes that were born from the stretching of their skin or the c-section scar they wear like a badge, that are proof they carried a child and are a mother; to the mothers whose bodies endured hours of labor, the labor of love, to bring their child forth into this world; to the mothers who endured the grueling task of pushing, when they thought they had nothing left in them, with their only inspiration the promise of meeting the one they had loved for nine months; to the mothers who lay on an operating table, with all trust placed into a doctor, to get their child here safely; to the mothers who heard that first cry, and felt that instant connection and knew what unconditional love truly was because of one moment; to the mothers who were the first to hold their child and the ones who couldn’t, no matter how much their arms ached for their baby; to the mothers who had hopes, dreams, and wishes that, for whatever reason, were stolen from them like a thief in the night; to the mothers who are overlooked and sometimes put down and called “less than” because they could not parent their child – biology is, in fact, exactly what makes one a mother.

This Mother’s Day I bring you a message of hope and peace. “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul,” said the great Emily Dickinson. As long as there is a breath in our lungs, there is hope. No matter how dire, no matter how messed up things are, there is always hope. In your darkest hours, on your darkest day, never forget that you are this mother. Nothing anyone can do will ever take that away from you. No one can ever erase it. In the most basic and primal ways, the truth is you are a mother. Every tear you’ve cried and every hope you’ve ever wished cannot be taken away.

“I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”

Hope is free, it costs nothing. My message of hope is this: Hope for yourself, hope for your happiness, hope for all that was lost, but whatever you do, don’t lose hope. In your darkest hours, when all seems to be lost, remember who you are. Remember you are a mother. No matter what anyone else says, no matter how anyone else tries to spin it, this is the truth. The truth always wins.

My oldest son took me to see the new Captain America movie today as an early Mother’s Day gift. One quote in the movie stuck with me and I will share it here for you. Hold onto it, embrace it, and even when the whole world seems to be pushing against you, hold firm in what you know, innately, to be true. May peace find you this Mother’s Day and everyday – in some form or another.

“Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move.'”

-Peggy Carter, Captain America

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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.*

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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.

 

 

 

 

Abortion Vs. Adoption

*Disclaimer – This post will not argue whether abortion should be legal. This post has nothing to do with that. Instead, this post will assert the ludicrosity that adoption is an alternative to abortion.*

 

Have you seen those trendy pictures in “feel good” websites lately? Pictures of couples or families holding signs outside of an abortion clinic saying, “We’ll adopt your baby!” It’s enough to make me sick. Literally.

The myth is prominent, and it is perpetuated by a large majority of people in the world. In today’s era of social networking it is even more prevalent and the message spreads swiftly. The myth that adoption is an alternative to abortion has been around for a long time. I’m going to tell you why that’s wrong and what kind of message it is really sending.

Let’s start from the beginning. We will use two fictitious characters to visualize each example.

Meet Cindy. Cindy is a 21 year old single woman who is working two jobs to put herself through school. Her support system is pretty limited to her disabled mother. She has always been very pro-choice. Cindy has found herself pregnant after a one-night stand and failed birth control.

Meet Beth. Beth is a 22 year old woman engaged to her high school sweetheart. They live together and are planning on marrying in the fall. Beth currently works full time while her fiance is going to medical school full time. Money is tight. Beth has lots of family but comes from humble means. She is also very pro-life. Beth has found herself pregnant after failed birth control.

Neither Cindy or Beth feel they are at a place in their life where they would be able to provide for a child. Because Cindy is okay with abortion, and doesn’t feel ready to parent a child, she chooses to get an abortion and terminate the pregnancy. Because Beth believes that life begins at conception and would not be comfortable with getting an abortion, Beth starts investigating adoption.

Stop.

Did Cindy ever considered staying pregnant? Did Beth ever consider an abortion? No.

Cindy did not decide to stay pregnant so that she could give her child up for adoption because abortion solved the problem for her.

Beth did not look into an abortion because it goes against what she morally believes and she wouldn’t even consider an abortion.

Was Beth’s pregnancy ever at risk of being terminated? No.

Was Cindy’s pregnancy ever going to be carried to term? No.

So how is adoption the solution to abortion?

Women who think abortion is okay will get abortions when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Or they’ll decided they want to parent their baby and look at it as a happy surprise.

Women who don’t think abortion is okay won’t be getting abortions when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Abortion is a decision on whether or not to stay pregnant.

Adoption is a decision on whether or not to parent.

These are two totally separate issues and decisions that are made. Every woman, upon finding out she is pregnant, whether the pregnancy is planned or not, will make the decision, in regards to her pregnancy, of whether of not to continue the pregnancy. Sometimes these decisions are passive and assumed, other times they are pro-active. If she decides to continue her pregnancy, she will then decide whether or not to parent her child. Every woman. Like I said, maybe its a passive and assumed decision, but its a decision, nonetheless.

Will I decide to carry out my pregnancy? Yes? Proceed to question two. Will I decide to parent my child when it is born?

Standing Outside an Abortion Clinic Offering to Take Someone’s Baby

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Source: REBRN

These are the photos that make me sick. These people are standing outside an abortion clinic holding a sign asking a woman to carry a baby for 9 months so that they can help themselves to her newborn once born. They are hailed as “heroes” when really they’re trolling for a womb-wet infant to call their own for their own selfish desires (well, one would assume. I don’t really know the people in this photo or their story).

Know what a real hero’s sign would say?

“I’ll help you and your baby.”

Isn’t THAT the Christian thing to do?

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Source: Public Facebook post

The above is from a post about abortion. Stephanie’s solution to someone finding themselves pregnant who literally could NOT be a parent? “ADOPTION!!!!!!!!!”

Why is that the first go to answer? The opposite of abortion is not adoption. The opposite of abortion is pregnancy. The opposite of adoption is parenting.

Let’s not forget that Stephanie (a proclaimed Christian) is quick to call someone a “hoe” and also includes a bit of slut shaming in there – “you made the choice to have sex knowing what could happen.” I guess we should all put our chastity belts on lest we incur Stephanie’s hoe-ly wrath.

What message are we sending to adoptees when they see this crap (and it’s all over)?

“Your mother could have aborted you.” And, yes, people actually tell adoptees this crud.

Well, guess what. Your mother could have aborted you, too – adopted or not.

In 2006 49% of pregnancies in the United States were UNPLANNED. Compare that to the statistic about adopted people. They make up less than 2% of the American population. Further proving that adoption is a decision about parenting and abortion is a decision about staying pregnant. You hear that? Half of you people out there could have been aborted and most of you WEREN’T adopted.

Standing outside an abortion clinic with signs saying you’ll take someone’s baby from them isn’t helping anything.

Help the mother, help the child. Not help yourself to the mother’s child.

For the record, I wanted IKL. I wanted to carry her, I wanted to parent her. I kept hoping and praying that by the time she was born something will had happened to make that possible. It didn’t. I made the decision to continue my pregnancy. And then circumstances forced me to make the decision to let her go.

I wish someone had been standing outside the adoption agency with a sign that said, “Let me help you and your baby!” Don’t see any protesters outside agencies, do you? Why is that?

Adoption Option Council of Minnesota – Active Baby Mining of Vulnerable Teens; A Mis-Education – Saving Our Sisters Official Response

Saving Our Sisters, as you know by now, is the grassroots efforts by members of the adoption community, mostly birthmothers, to help pregnant women avoid adoption relinquishment and the grief that comes with it. We actively seek to educate the world about the realities of adoption that you won’t hear from those who stand to gain something from it. As important as our education mission is the assistance we provide to families to give them a way to parent their child. In my last post I said that what we do is considered controversial, and it is. Why is it considered controversial? Because we lower the supply of babies that are available to those “more deserving” hopeful adoptive parents (see my sarcasm?)

What we do can only be truly successful when there is a major shift in the way people look at adoption. Unfortunately, we have all sorts of adoption advocacy groups that have tons of money invested in telling people how “different” adoption is today. Take, for instance, the Adoption Council of Minnesota. Saving Our Sisters would like to make an official statement about a news article that has come to light in regards of this adoption advocacy group.

To summarize the article, Adoption Council of Minnesota is being heavily praised for sending people out to high schools to “educate” kids about how great adoption is and how it isn’t what it used to be. This is not an accurate education, of course. This education does not include the statistics about the majority of open adoptions closing or contact being greatly diminished within the first 5 years. This doesn’t include the staggering statistic that adopted children are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than the rest of the population. This doesn’t include the trauma, grief and depression that many first moms go through. It includes none of the bad stuff, at all.

These efforts, by Adoption Option Council, are nothing more than propaganda such as the #bravelove campaign to meet the ultimate goal – more babies. By the articles own admission this is why they do it. And I quote, “Getting birth parents to consider adoption is an uphill battle today. With greater access to contraception and abortion and a reduced social stigma for single parenting, fewer babies are available for adoption.” First of all, no one is a birth parent until after they have relinquished their rights so this statement doesn’t even make sense. No one who is already a birth parent can still “consider” adoption as they have already terminated their rights. This statement is misleading. It adds to the coercion that someone who is pregnant under less than ideal circumstances should automatically be considered a birth parent. It gives a sense of entitlement to prospective adoptive parents to a child that is not theirs. Yes, getting parents to consider adoption is an uphill battle, as it should be, and Adoption Option Council of Minnesota has taken that battle to the high schools in a plot that we can only see as “brainwashing” with “adoption positive” language. Of course this language won’t include terms such as suicide, PTSD, and broken families.

Who are they?

About a year and a half ago the board members for Adoption Option were changed. The President is Kate Gillen, a birthmother. You see, by using a birthmother as the front person it makes them seem like a legitimate organization who only want to educate. What does Kate get out of this? Like all birthmothers that are used in “today’s” adoptions, she gets to be the hero. How many times do we hear the “in the fog” birthmothers talking about how great it felt to “give someone such a huge gift.” They get praised, like goddesses, and some even write articles for pro-adoption sites and get paid.

But who is the Vice President? That title belongs to Allie Schmidt. Who is Allie Schmidt? You can probably guess. She is a social worker for an ADOPTION AGENCY. Hope Adoption & Family Services International to be exact. Which seems to be called Evolve Adoption & Family Services now. How can a person who works profiting from the adoption of children be the Vice President of a “non-profit” that claims to educate people about how great and different adoption is now?

I’m so sick of these “non-profits” popping up that advocate for adoption and look to be so great on the outside when at least ONE person in power, sitting on the board, PROFITS off of adoption in some way or another. Huge conflict of interest. They are using these organizations as a front to, essentially, lobby for more babies. I wonder who Adoption Option sends moms to when they fall for the propaganda. I would go out on a limb and guess, oh, um, probably EVOLVE Adoption Agency. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit. But, wait, you may say…they’re a non-profit! The director made almost $90,000 in 2014. I’d say her very financial existence relies on getting more infants to stay in business, wouldn’t you? No salary or a very small salary, to me, is considered non-profit. You can read more about the adoption non-profit myth here.

You see, these agencies, the ones who profit off of adoptions, cannot go out and talk about how great adoption is and be taken seriously. So they create a separate “non-profit” group that appears to benefit birth parents and expectant mothers. It’s all a front. All of it. It’s ludicrous to think we are even allowing this stuff in our high schools. It really is. Our PUBLIC high schools are allowing people to come in to brainwash people into giving up their babies as commodities for what is, really, a legal child-trafficking ring in the United States.

And we’re considered controversial. We do not profit. We do not have a salary. We are not compensated, even, for expenses incurred helping these mothers. We keep families together and provide assistance without expecting anything in return. Our organization is not a front. It is for real. What you see is what you get. We have NOTHING to gain. Not to mention, we are NOT well-off. At all. Money is always tight in my household, and I live quite a meager existence. Yet, I know what it is like to be scared, frightened and pregnant…looking for any way out. A temporary financial situation led me to lose my daughter. I was told how great adoption was. I was NOT offered any help to keep her. The little help I DID get was with the stipulation I would hand over my child. So I know what it is like to be in that place. I don’t want anyone else to ever have to be there. This is why we do what we do.

The down side in not getting all sorts of government grants for being a non-profit? We don’t have a drop in the bucket to launch such huge faux pas campaigns in the name of adoption to get what we want. This is our only outlet, our readers, our volunteers, our donors, social media. How much money do these organizations spend on their campaigns to get more babies? How much of that money could have helped just one mother parent her child? Ask yourself these questions and see what kind of answers you come up with.

But adoption is different! Isn’t it? No, not really. The tactics have just changed, as I covered in my previous post. That is why they are so misleading. At the end of the day, just like in the 60’s, you have no parental rights, adoptive parents are not required to keep contact, and your grown child, who you have relinquished, is not required to want anything to do with you. As a matter of fact, its worse than having no parental rights. You are historically ERASED from your child’s life. The birth certificate is sealed and even in states where it has now become legal to get, it isn’t an official government document. The names of “mother” and “father” are changed to a lie. It will state that the adoptive parents gave birth to your child. Not much at all has REALLY changed in adoption. Even open adoption where promises are kept does not equate a “perfect” adoption. While open adoption is preferable to closed adoption, we now have adult adoptees, from open adoptions, discussing how difficult it was to grow up that way, constantly leaving your first family and not understanding why. My favorite open adoption adoptee is Kat. Her blog is SISTER WISH. Here are some quotes from her front page:

“I felt trapped between two worlds.”

“Jealousy ran rampant with my kept siblings. I had things. They had my mom.”

“I ALWAYS wanted to see and talk to my mom more.”

“Open adoption is an adult concept based on boundaries. As a child, I didn’t know that. I was fully vested.”

Also, in my previous post, we learned the Nebraska Supreme Court, in a landmark, precedent setting decision, ruled that promises of open adoption were COERCION.

There is no great, awesome, adoption for a child, unless, of course, that child was in an abusive household. Even then it isn’t great. It is still sad their original family was not competent and they had to get a new family. What is adoption about for Adoption Option Council of Minnesota? From reading the article it seems to be about adoptive parents and birth parents who want to appease their guilt. Definitely NOT about the child who will be adopted. If it was they would be honest. But they’re not.

Saving Our Sisters takes the official position that we are adamantly against any group of people who would come into a high school, speak to vulnerable minds, claim to educate them about a subject, when it is really propaganda for personal gain.

Guilt, Coercion, Threats – A New Mom Changes Her Mind – SOS In Action

UPDATE: Almost $1100 was raised for Clara in less than 24 hours! You are all amazing!!

As some of you may know, we are in the process of legitimizing our grassroots organization called Saving Our Sisters (SOS). The goal of SOS is to help vulnerable women avoid adoption relinquishment. Over the past couple of years the organization’s brain child and front-runner, Lynn Johansenn, has helped dozens of women, that had decided to utilize adoption, to keep their babies and successfully parent. SOS offers whatever support is needed to achieve this. Sometimes the support is emotional, sometimes financial, and sometimes legal. Most people who have been helping with this are members of the adoption community themselves. They include birth/first/natural mothers, adoptees, and even a couple of adoptive parents. When the alarm call is sounded, this vast network of people contributes to what is needed and we always end up with enough for the new mom.

Initially, when hearing about an expectant mother who is set on an adoption “plan,” she is approached gently and given the encouragement she needs to know she is worthy of parenting her child and that SOS will do whatever it takes to make that possible. Each reason that a mother has to contemplate adoption is systematically removed with our wonderful network of donors and volunteers. Some harsh realities about the possibilities (probabilities?) in adoption are taught and then the ball is in her court. She is left with contact information, if she declines help at that time, if she changes her mind after the birth of the baby.

If a mother contacts us and needs help we will immediately send out a local contact to be by her side. This contact will go through the needs and even speak on her behalf to the adoption agency, attorney, or prospective adoptive parents so there need not be any awkward moments. We literally do anything we need to do to make the change of mind as easy as possible for the new mother.

More often than not, after the mother has changed her mind and the prospective adoptive parents have been informed, a series of harassment and coercion, coming from selfish people who will do anything to get their hands on the baby they think they have been “promised,” ensues. Prospective adoptive parents, in general, seem to think they are more worthy and more deserving of someone else’s child and will pull out all stops to coerce her, even threaten her, into signing over her rights.

I would like to introduce you to Clara’s* story. Clara is a young mother in Kansas who was expecting a baby within days. Help and information were offered to her. She originally declined but, after the birth of her baby, changed her mind and reached out for help.

Clara had already picked out prospective adoptive parents and was in the process of beginning a private (non-agency) adoption. Since there was no agency the prospective adoptive’s parents’ attorney was pretty much running the legal show. I have no information about how she came about picking this couple or if she was coerced during her pregnancy. I can only speculate. What I do know about Clara is this: She is a hard-working, frugal, single mother who does a kick ass job as a mother. She manages to provide with very little and does damn good with it. She is smart, level-headed, and loving. The father of the baby she just delivered ran out on her with another woman. He wanted nothing to do with the new baby. Clara’s story is so familiar. I’ve heard it time and time again. Are these ideal circumstances to bring a child into the world? Well, no, not really. Does that mean it’s impossible to successfully parent this child? Absolutely not. I’m sure Clara could think of family members or friends that would be willing to be a positive male role model in her child’s life. After deciding to parent she had an outpouring of support from family, friends and her community. Bottom line is this, Clara is worthy of parenting her child and her child is worthy of staying in his original family, of keeping that family intact. When this is a possibility it should always be this way. Adoption should always and only be a last resort.

I’ve discussed coercion, guilt trips, and all sorts of other fun stuff that goes on behind the scenes in adoption land. I often hear new birthmoms say “that doesn’t happen anymore” or “that didn’t happen to me.” Let this stand as a testament that it does indeed still happen, and often. Ask yourself how your child’s adoptive parents would have behaved if you changed your mind?

I did, indeed, make an adoption plan for my youngest daughter (the daughter that was born after my relinquished daughter). I asked the adoptive parents of IKL to adopt her. I changed my mind. When they learned of this change of mind they said, “You will never see IKL again.” Visits were stopped. That was 12 years ago. I have not seen her since. Initially they tried to talk me into giving the baby up. Telling me how it would be selfless and I would be giving her all sorts of things that she wouldn’t get with me. When that didn’t work they resorted to threats. Threatening to take IKL out of my life. When I didn’t relent they made good on their promise.

Meet Becky, prospective adoptive parent. This is her text message to Clara after learning she had changed her mind.

Screen shot number one.

Screen shot number one.

Screen shot number two.

Screen shot number two.

Guilt and coercion. “Look how upset we are. Please still consider adoption. We can give your baby what you can’t. We are more deserving. We’ll let you pick the middle name! See how great and open we are!” That is the message I’m getting from this text message. Notice she mentions Tom. This is the father of the baby. She is using Clara’s fear of a court battle (which she knows full and well would never really get to the point of “fighting” just based on custody laws) with Tom to attempt to sway her into handing over her baby. Pretty disgusting. But it get’s better.

Screen shot number three.

Screen shot number three.

When Becky’s attempt to coerce and scare Clara didn’t work, she resorted to having her sister text message Clara. More guilt. She even goes so far to call her selfish for parenting her child. Do these people not understand this baby is not and never was theirs? This is just more of the same, trying to get her to sign over rights via guilt and making her feel like a bad person – selfish – for parenting HER child.

Screen shot number four.

Screen shot number four. He meant to say, “if you are NOT willing to let the child be adopted.”

So here’s where things get “Are you kidding me?!” This is the bio father’s text message to Clara. Here’s what you need to remember. Clara did NOT give her contact information to Tom (the bio father). He attained this message through the adoptive parents somehow, most likely their attorney. As you’ll remember from the first text message, Becky was trying to convince Clara to give up her baby to protect the baby from Tom (bio dad). If Becky was truly concerned about the baby’s safety would she be giving out Clara’s contact information to Tom? Even if it was through a third-party such as her attorney? Of course not. This is, yet again, another tactic to scare Clara. This time with direct threats from the bio dad. When Becky’s text message didn’t work, and then her sister’s didn’t either, she now tried FORCE. Coercion and guilt wasn’t working, right? Let’s FORCE her hand into giving us her baby. Let’s scare her…even if it really does put the baby at risk. Who cares. We want what we want and we’ll do anything to get it.

This is the face of adoption. Expectant mothers heed this warning. The same people who are nice to you, that you feel “connected” to, that you LOVE SO MUCH, I would estimate 90% of them would turn into this if you changed your mind. They have one goal in mind – to get a baby. They are shameless and will stop at nothing to do it.

Dear Becky,

Go fuck yourself you entitled piece of shit.

Dear Becky’s sister,

Noneya.

Dear Tom,

Go ahead and try. I dare you.

Where does this leave Clara? Well, none of this is working on her, thank God. The ONLY thing Clara needs right now is her rent of $500 paid since she was not able to scrape that together being at the end of her pregnancy. We don’t usually ask for monetary donations straight up but, in this case, it is needed greatly. Her rent is due on the 1st. As of now we do NOT have tax exempt status so your donation would not be tax-deductible. However, if you would like to donate to the PayPal account that is being used to help Clara with rent next month (and if we get enough rent NEXT month as well) it would be greatly appreciated.

To donate to Clara please message Lynn Johansenn on facebook HERE.

What Clara is doing is #bravelove.

Adoption is #notabravelove

*Name changed to protect new mother