Did you know coercion is a real thing in the adoption community? Much more than you may realize! Conversations are surfacing from birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents who have witnessed this coercion, been a part of it, and are now speaking up so that things can and will change.
There are many parts of adoption that can be coercive and yes, unethical. Ethics and coercion go hand in hand. We are diving in, head first and sharing with you what that looks like.
1. Language- Proper language is always improving in the adoption community. But, many people either don't want to put in the effort to change their language or don't want to put in the time to learn. I have even heard adoption professionals, yes you heard that right, use terms that are demeaning and degrading towards an expectant parent. This can range from- "that's just how they are" or "they are always living that kind of lifestyle" and so on. This also includes using antiquated adoption language such as "birth mom" instead of "expectant mom" for a woman who is expecting. "Giving her baby up" instead of "making an adoption plan" or "pursuing an adoption plan".
2. A lack of support- Expectant moms/birth moms should ALWAYS be offered long term post placement care. Adoption is lifelong for every member of the triad and there should be counseling offered for as long as any individual needs it, especially expectant/birth parents. This is something to ask your agency or consultant before signing on with them. It should be our number one priority to make sure the expectant mom/birth mom gets the care that she needs before and after birth!
3. Fees- Did you know that some agencies charge MORE for a certain gender and LESS for a certain race. WHAT? When did we become God? This baffles me and makes me shocked that we are still allowing "baby shopping" to take place. A child is a child. A human being. Nothing less. There should be a fee across the board and that be it. Not change based on gender and race demand.
4. Expenses- Threatening an expectant mom or birth mom with the fact that they will have to pay back "birth mom expenses" if they choose to parent is absurd. Many parents would not be able to pay those fees back, therefore they feel like they HAVE to place their child even if they have become empowered to parent.
5. Pre-birth consent- This in itself is wrong. How can we ask an expectant parent to sign over their rights to a child they haven't even birthed yet? I will leave this here.
6. Adoptees- Something I found out recently is that adoptees have NO rights to their original birth certificate. This breaks my heart as a partial adoptee. Thankfully, I was parented by my bio mom and adopted dad so I have access to my original birth certificate, but can you imagine not being allowed that information?!
At this point, I want to encourage you to do your research when searching for an adoption agency or consultant. Ask the HARD questions and don't be bullied into anything. They work for you, remember that. If you have signed on with an agency that you question their ethics, ask them the tough questions as well! The only way things will change is if we empower ourselves as hopeful adoptive parents/adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, and concerned citizens to push for more ethical adoptions!
Lets honor all parts of the triad, besides we are all in this together!
-Mallory Fogas, Owner of Arrow and Root
- Instagram @arrowandroot or @forevermrsfogas
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