Adoption article provokes heated reader responses

On November 16, the Daily Planet featured a Q and A with Sarah Hamlin, an adoptive parent who volunteers with an organization called Adoption Option, which encourages young women to consider adoption if they find themselves pregnant and unprepared.

Our comment section lit up.

On one side were birth mothers, adoptees and other commenters who said adoption is coercive and harmful to children and their biological mothers.

On the other side were surprised adoptive mothers and others who argued that adoption is a miracle, not a crime.

We live in a world where power is distributed unevenly and where economics, politics, cultural norms and human emotions make it difficult for all women to find financial stability, get off drugs, access birth control or have healthy relationships.

It’s no wonder that an article about adoption would solicit reactions like these.

These are excerpts from longer posts. Commenters’ punctuation and spelling has been edited. Their identities have not been verified.

From some readers, anger

An anonymous reader commented, “Most adoptees and mothers of loss strongly disagree with Ms. Hamlin's view that adoption be considered an option. Who would benefit from this option? Infertile women like Ms. Hamlin perhaps?” [Author’s note: Sarah Hamlin has two biological children.]

The commenter added, “Most single mothers need support with daycare and maybe some financial help, but they do not need to give up their babies. Why not create a better support system for these young moms who want to keep their children?”

Said Lisa Helman, “You are claiming that if your kids had been adopted at birth they would not have the problems they do now with anxiety and attachment. Well, I am going to tell you, you are wrong. I was adopted out at birth to be placed in an orphanage for 3 months until someone wanted me, and guess what? I, too, suffer all those problems. They have nothing to do with when you’re adopted. They have everything to do with being adopted, if at birth, or 8, or 10. The child has been separated from their mother.”

Julie Morgan, commented via Facebook that her first daughter was put up for adoption without her consent. She said, “The women who birthed them, their mothers, well we were just the incubators. We were the ones who birthed the child. We were their mothers. They were born to us, chose us to be their mums.”

Surprise from adoptive parents

An anonymous adoptive parent wrote, “I must say that my heart breaks at the comments shared above. My husband and I are adoptive parents to a wonderful little girl. Our adoption has been VERY open from the start. The birthmother is friends with us on Facebook. We text weekly, if not daily at times, too. We get together with the birthmother and her family several times a year. It has been one of the most amazing experiences.”

Jerianne Lovett described her adopted child’s birth mother. “She was 16 and not ready to parent a child. She could have, but she wanted to have a normal childhood, finish high school AND give the baby a stable family life. From the beginning she made a decision to put her child first, and we have a great relationship that is beneficial to everyone. After she gave birth, she was able to fulfill her dreams. She got back into dance, and the baby and I watched her compete in the state dance competition, as their team won. Four years later, we still see her every few months, and she is able to move on with her life, while still having contact with her birth daughter. The sweet girl says she has no regrets, and it was the best decision she has ever made.”

On open adoption

Lorene Wages Fairchild said via Facebook, “Open adoption is an improvement, but they are generally not legally enforceable.”

Eileen Dineen Burke said, “Do you honestly think that most birth mothers would come out and tell their child's [adoptive parents] that they regret giving their child up? Given that open adoptions can close at any time, birth mothers in these situations tend to present one face to AP’s and quite another to themselves and close friends and family. In an open adoption, the AP's have all the control; they hold all the cards. Birth mothers don't tend to be all that open with their feelings on adoption with their children and their AP's.”

Wendi Huisman Kitsteiner, an adoptive parent, wrote, “Adopted families must go through more paperwork and red tape than I can put into words, and they are usually much more educated than the average person not adopting. The vast majority of relationships that end in open adoptions do so on the part of the birth parent.”

A safe, loving home

Cheri wrote, “Growing up in foster care is no Life for any child. Instead of parents being given chance after chance after chance to get their lives straight, to clean up and build a safe, loving home for their child, time should be limited on the parents to straighten up. Why should a child have to sit and wait for years, especially during some of the most important years of their lives, just in case their mom or dad decide it’s time to think of the child first?”

She added, “I have the Utmost respect for parents who put their child first when they know that they can't possibly give their child all that they may need to grow up in a loving home.”

An anonymous reader wrote, “There are plenty of children in foster care who await adoption. This is a good option for the infertile or fertile who desire a child. However, separating a mother and child by reinforcing that she is not ready to parent because she is young, has not finished school, or is poor is morally wrong.”

The reader added, “Adoption starts with loss, the loss of a child's family. Please read adoptee and birthparent blogs and forums so that those of you in denial will understand. The reason there are so many critical comments directed at Sarah is because the truth is out. The internet and social media have given a voice to adoptees and birthparents that are not reflected in the made-for-adoption statistics.”

For more,

Read the original article, Adoptive parent urges: If you're not ready to parent, consider adoption option

Also, Minnesota adoptions: Success stories and waiting children

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    Alleen Brown's picture
    Alleen Brown

    Alleen Brown (alleenbrown [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net or Twitter @AlleenBrown) is a freelance writer from Minneapolis.