Adoption Saves Lives.
That has been the unchallenged catchphrase for decades. As far back as I can remember, I have heard it said countless times. I grew up marinating in the pro-life movement; the purveyor of this catchphrase. I’ve been to more Marches For Life than I can recall. I’ve owned my fair share of “Save the Babies” t-shirts. And in the pro-life movement, it is a well-known but completely unsubstantiated fact that Adoption Saves Lives.
So when I found myself a pregnant teen, you could imagine my surprise when the pro-life movement refused to help me find resources to parent my daughter. My pro-life parents insisted on adoption along with disowning me. My pro-life pastor offered to purchase my daughter for his infertile pro-life brother to adopt her. The shady pro-life crisis center my mother took me to I would swear was a front for an adoption agency to this day. Everyone kept saying to me, “thanks for choosing life.” It was as if I had stumbled into a Twilight Zone episode. I had never considered anything other than parenting my daughter. I simply needed a hand up. I was a capable mother. I was in a temporary crisis. Every attempt I made to voice that I wanted to parent was met with a condescending look of “oh, aren’t you cute”…followed by “thank you for choosing life, now let’s talk about adoption.”
Adoption certainly hadn’t “saved” my daughter’s life. In fact, adoption seemed such a hopeless fate, I briefly considered abortion at 5 months. Me! The pro-life chick. I couldn’t imagine a lifetime for either of us to be separated from one another. Death could offer a closure that adoption could never give. I wonder how many times adoption hasn’t saved a life, but actually cost one? I know now that its a ridiculous catchphrase and one that can never be quantified or based on any facts. It is banal, empty, and quite frankly a sales pitch for a billion dollar industry.
(For the record, I’m glad I didn’t pursue an abortion, no thanks to the pro-life movement. I wish I had simply run away.)
Where were we?
Adoption Saves Lives is a sales pitch for a billion dollar industry. Oh, yes.
I see frequently in pro-life circles adoption being pushed as an alternative to abortion. I don’t have paper proof, but there certainly seems to be a recent contrived effort to further the adoption narrative. One is hard-pressed to find real life stories where Adoption Saves Lives. You would think with that catchphrase that pro-life groups would be champing at the bit to prove its validity. It seems there would be endless articles posted about how adoption saved yet another life. If adoption isn’t saving lives, then its really quite a bleak “choice.” A lifetime of separation, for what?
One thing many in pro-life leadership positions do know is the lifelong grief that adoption presents to mothers. In an article from Life News, writer Keith Riler openly concedes about birth mothers, “there is generally a profound emotional toll. … [M]ost birth mothers [sic] profoundly affected by the loss of their children[.] … Most birth mothers mourn the loss of their children throughout their lives and none forget their children and move on effortlessly as they may have been assured that they would.” Even after taking the time to type out such a horrid fate that so many mothers face, Riler explains it away with, “It is a love distorted by pride.” In fact, he argues for an increase in this “profound loss”.
Mourn the loss of their children throughout their lives = A love distorted by pride
I cannot fathom the depth of pride one must have in order to believe themselves righteous for exchanging one Hell for another- to have to choose either the physical or the psychological death of a child. Maybe pride isn’t the right word…other words that come to mind; oblivion, deluded, apathy, privilege. Luke 11:11 also comes to mind, “if your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead?” Why is promoting the psychological death of a child somehow more virtuous than promoting physical death? A snake is a snake. PROFOUND.EMOTIONAL.TOLL. Mourn the loss of their children.
That certainly doesn’t sound like Adoption Saves Lives. It sounds…suicidal.
It isn’t only mothers who suffer a lifetime of grief, but adoptees have been shown to suffer as well. I can promise one thing that will certainly be left out of adoption counseling, if there is counseling at all, is that the adopted face suicide rates 4 times greater than the non-adopted. So, does that mean Adoption Takes Lives? Do the lives saved and the lives taken cancel each other out?
I often see articles on pro-life pages showing statistics as to why women choose abortion. Poverty. Its estimated that 75% of women who choose abortion do so because of poverty. Those numbers are nearly identical for women who choose adoption. Yet, for many in the pro-life movement, the adoption statistics are unknown or completely ignored. Choosing abortion because of poverty is bad. Choosing adoption because of poverty is…? Ignored? Remember, Adoption Saves Lives. How icky would that be if adoption was actually redistributing babies from the poor to the wealthy? Those numbers must be ignored or else it gets really gross.
Studies show that poverty is the number one reason why women choose adoption, closely followed by isolation. Those who promote adoption in the pro-life movement are well aware of these statistics. For instance, Laura Bruder, executive director of Bravelove. She was quoted in reference to the latest birth mom study carried out by the Donaldson Adoption Institute, “because of the stories and experiences shared, the research reaffirmed the need to improve options, counseling and adoption practices so that expectant parents are able to fully explore all of their options on their own time and make the best decision for themselves and their child.”
Bravelove is an unapologetic pro-adoption outfit. It is a “campaign that seeks to drastically increase adoption rates in the U.S.” Kind of hard to drastically increase adoption rates while also improving options, counseling, and practices. The US currently has an outrageously high domestic infant adoption rate compared to its neighbors. See my previous post America, You Have An Adoption Problem. Pretty soon, we might be able to consider poor pregnant women one of America’s renewable resources.
What you won’t learn at Bravelove is that one of its founding board members turned adviser is also the president and CEO of Gladney Center for Adoption, Frank Garrott. An adoption agency! Conflict of interest?
Bravelove promotes Gladney’s AdoptED. A program where an adoption agency actually gets free advertisement and access to supply through its “educational” tours with high school students. This isn’t meant to be a piece exposing Bravelove or Gladney. (Granted, that could be a doozy of a blog. According to Guidestar, Gladney brought in $11 million in 2015 while compensating its CEO, Garrott, $226,000.)
The point is that adoption is a business. It sells the narrative that Adoption Saves Lives. A narrative that the pro-life movement has never taken to task. The adoption business has no choice but to sell the life-saving narrative because any alternative would literally be the most evil thing most of us could probably imagine. It would be the destruction of the mother and child bond that the pro-life movement claims to treasure. Ya know, that bond where babies know their mothers from inside the womb? That bond where babies are seeking out their mother’s voice and smell the moment of birth?
Without the “saving life” narrative, it would be the carrying out of Job 24:9, “the fatherless child is snatched from the breast, the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.” It would make the strangest of bedfellows if the pro-life movement was spooned up against an industry determined to separate mother and child.
Its time that the pro-life movement takes the adoption industry to task. The next time you read a story about Domestic Infant Adoption, I want you to ask yourself 2 questions:
1) Did Adoption save the life of a child? 2) Was this an adoption that could have been avoided through counsel and access to resources?
I think you’ll quickly find that our culture, particularly pro-life culture, has bought into a stealthy marketing campaign. Instead, what if we had a culture that supported women and their choices by taking money out of the equation? In both abortion and adoption, 70% of the time, women are making a decision due to financial strain. What if we had a culture that fought to preserve families rather than destroy them? A culture that would encourage mothers to believe that they are enough for their little ones.
I’ll leave you with some of the adoption industry’s handiwork. These are the tip of the iceberg. I could post blogs on a weekly basis with endless supply of the following. Take the adoption industry to task. Does Adoption Save Lives?
Stories where abortion wasn’t an option. No lives saved here. Just poor people being convinced they weren’t good enough.
Talk About Adoption
From Medium.com, “Socially, I was ostracized. Emotionally, I felt abandoned. I was subjected to so much humiliation and shame during my pregnancy. People told me that I was not ready, my child deserved better than me, I could not be a good mom, etc. There was an overwhelming pressure to abort my daughter. I personally did not feel that this was an appropriate decision. I chose to carry to term and planned to raise my daughter myself, other’s opinions be damned.”
From Adoptions With Love, “After testing my urine and hormone levels, the doctor determined that I was 22 weeks pregnant—just about six months. The doctor tells me that in the state of Massachusetts, I legally have one more week to decide if I want to terminate the pregnancy. Right then and there I know nothing about my future and where my life will go. The only thing I know and could not feel more strongly about is that I am about to give birth and be the vessel to the biggest miracle I will ever see, or know.”
A variety of ways you can be told you aren’t enough for your baby:
Heart to Heart Adoptions
A variety of other subtle ways to be told you aren’t enough for your baby:
11 thoughts on “Pro-life? Take the Adoption Industry to Task.”
Well done, VB!! When will the world see that they are party to the most insidious, destructive industry?
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Wouldn’t one expect adoptees to be vehemently ‘pro-life’ when experiencing unplanned pregnancies? Not always. The thought of being separated from their babies as they were separated from their own mothers can drive them to abortion. Like these:
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Yes. It seems counterintuitive, but once I found adoption groups I was shocked by the prominence of pro-choice people. I accept that I’m a minority and it has never been an issue. Many of us I notice, pro-choice or pro-life, seem more interested in family preservation rather than abortion debates. Thank you for your comment.
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My mother ODed 9 months after I was born and taken for adoption at 2days old..💔
I am so sorry.
Adoptee here. When I became pregnant unexpectedly aged 22 and my bf skipped out, I knew that my only option was parenting. I faced prejudice, homelessness and mistreatment, even in the late 90’s, but there was no way this child was leaving me. No. Matter. What. What became so apparent to me was that both adoption and abortion were indicative of the failure of society. It’s wrong that women face either because of isolation, lack of support and discriminatory work and housing practices, and it’s hellish wrong that adoption agencies prey on women in crisis to help themselves to their babies, which they then sell on for Big Bucks. Long story short: everything worked out fine. BF and I back together, now married nearly 20 years, found a new place to live, got promoted and started earning more money. Kid now starting second year of college. No more adoption trauma in this family.
I am so happy for you! Thank you for your comment.
I wish I had known someone like you at the time. My experience was in the late 90s as well. Unfortunately, I fell prey to the “better life” industry talk bc I had no real experience nor anyone in my life that had firsthand knowledge of adoption. Except for those on the gaining side- agents and adoptive families. Looking back, parenting would have been by far the easiest option. Temporary poverty included. My family would be intact today as we would be celebrating my daughter’s graduation. But adoption was a sword that cut my family in half and has left my daughter and me to pick up the pieces.
I am so happy that you had the wherewithal to not let it tear your family apart.
Adoption as a suicide risk
Click to access 9532c2f91ff407e154029aeb358b376bd184.pdf
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Thank you. For those who don’t read the pdf:
ime of the survey.
Suicide attempts are significantly more common
among adolescents who live with married adoptive
mothers than among adolescents who live with mar-
ried biological mothers. The association between
adoption and attempted suicide persists after adjust-
ing for depression and aggression and is not medi-
ated by impulsivity as measured by a self-reported
tendency to make decisions quickly. Although the
mechanism underlying the association remains un-
clear, adoptive status may help health care providers
to identify youths who are at risk and to intervene
before a suicide attempt occurs.”