I grew up in the age of deadbeat dads. These were men who knew they had children, but chose not to be involved in their children’s lives. This term was certainly a pejorative. There was nothing redeemable about being a deadbeat dad. You might as well have had leprosy for your flagrant abandonment of your progeny. There was never a movement where these men openly called themselves “brave” or “selfless” for not raising the children they had created.
I became a birth mom at the age of 19 due to many reasons; the intention to abandon my child like a deadbeat dad not being one. It was a decision wrapped up in homelessness, a warped family, an abusive religion, gripping fear, agency speak, and on top of it all a deadbeat dad. The term deadbeat dad is one that I have never used for my ex until now and I only do it to make a point. My daughter is a part of him; no matter his faults. She knows that her father walked away at the most critical time and there’s no need for piling on. I have refused to ever speak poorly of him. I loved him and she knows that. But walk away, he did. Many would and have referred to him as a deadbeat dad because of it.
That leads to my acceptance of ultimately abandoning my daughter as well through the act of adoption. At the end of the day, I gave my own flesh and blood away to complete strangers. Something I wish I could take back every day- for both of us.
My daughter lost her parents. That infant in her bassinet was abandoned and it didn’t matter to her why. She was biologically programmed to need me, to search me out at birth, to hear the voice that she had known for months, the comfort of my arms, and I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there nor was her father. She became a manufactured orphan.
Where my confusion has been all these years is why I was praised and her father was condemned. We both abandoned our child to strangers. My way just happened to be done through an industry’s slick machinations. An industry that has invested its fair share in propaganda over the last half-century. Adding the descriptive terms of “brave” and “selfless” to my actions of abandonment would make it all justifiable somehow. My daughter lost her father due to cowardice, but lost her mother due to courage. At least that’s how the adoption industry spun it. I’ve spent many years trying to unravel that yarn. And when I thought the Adoption Industry and its slimy social engineering couldn’t get any slimier, I find that we have entered a new era.
Welcome to the Brave New World of Bravelove.
Bravelove is the current and final form in the March of Progress on the Adoption Evolutionary Sequence. It is the perfected descendant of grandiose delusions. The apex predator. It is Peak Misogyny.
To borrow from another dystopian novel, Bravelove has created a brand of newspeak that seems to disarm even the most impassioned feminists in the name of “choice”. In this new world, Disadvantage = Brave and Abandonment = Love. To the outside observer, it’s sometimes difficult to see when choices are not necessarily equal.
At Bravelove, we watch vulnerable situations that expectant mothers find themselves in, framed in such a way, that it appears empowering and intoxicating to give away the youngest members of their clan. It is genius marketing. Giving away our children to total strangers is made to look inspirational. But when we scratch the surface, it is nothing more than a twisted celebration of child abandonment and social injustice.
It makes me question why we’ve given deadbeat dads such a hard time for so many years. If only these men had an organization to make the desertion of their family appear courageous. How could we have been so cruel to ostracize fathers for doing exactly what we encourage in mothers? Giving away their children.
Or maybe, just maybe we aren’t seeing mothers who don’t want to parent their children in this Brave New World. Maybe we’re witnessing something far more sinister. A great injustice being vulgarly displayed as empowerment.
Bravelove can’t have it all. If a mother doesn’t want to raise her child; she is a deadbeat mom. She joins the ranks with generations of deadbeat dads and deserves the social rejection they have long experienced. There should be no such forum where she is placed on a pedestal for walking away from the infant who needs her. If we are now rewarding desertion with public praise, then we owe many deadbeat dads an apology. The adoption industry has created a double standard.
If a mother wants to raise her child, yet she’s encouraged by this organization and those like it to give her child away because she is presently in a state of disadvantage (poor, alone, scared, pressured, homeless, etc.); are we not witnessing one of the greatest social injustices of our time? Is this not misogyny in action?
These women are either deadbeats or disempowered. They cannot be both. If they are the former, then they deserve every and all accusations thrown their way. They deserve no praise for leaving their newborn with strangers. If they are the latter, then society has far to go in correcting the injustices done to mothers who are made to believe that giving away their own flesh is a noble response to difficult circumstances. The poor and the panicked do not owe society their children. Society owes them refuge and protection from predators who exploit their vulnerable predicament.
That brings me to Bravelove’s interviews with birth mothers. A sobering collection of how society, families, and the adoption industry have failed women in crisis.
In the interviews, it is evident that many mothers have been convinced that their child deserves a “better” life than a life with them. Nothing says female empowerment like “I’m not good enough.”
With this line of thinking, wouldn’t all of us fall short of motherhood? There will always be someone richer, smarter, and better prepared for situations. It seems the ethical response to a woman in such crisis would be to do all you could to empower her to believe herself “good enough” for motherhood. No, not at Bravelove. They take natural insecurities, exploit them, and build an entire organization around them.
Another common response from the interviews (which I believe are supposed to be positive examples of adoption) is that many of these mothers are in impossible situations with their support system. Rather than Bravelove filling that void for these mothers and becoming the support system that is desperately lacking, they exploit complex situations to push their own agenda.
These are mothers who are homeless or have family members who openly reject them. These injustices are not reviled by Bravelove, but rather revered as ways of helping a mother make an “empowering” decision.
For decades, the adoption industry has thrived off of the well-marketed narrative that adoption “saves” babies from abortion and abuse. We have entered an era where the industry no longer relies on those paper-thin defenses for separating babies from their mothers. Today, organizations such as Bravelove can thumb their noses at society as they proudly flaunt mothers who were not abortion-minded nor abusive. They find it a source of pride to celebrate mothers being separated from their babies because they are merely poor and alone. In an ironic twist, it has now become fashionable that if a deadbeat dad is involved, that babies are expected to also lose their mother. This IS the Domestic Infant Adoption industry today. Bravelove is the industry standard.
If there is something to be gleaned from organizations like Bravelove, it is that society has little understanding of the complexities that create an adoption decision. I would hope that these interviews and additional birth mom testimonials on every adoption agency’s website will prove how far we have to go in protecting and empowering the most vulnerable among us; mother and baby. I hope that these organizations are so blinded by their arrogance that they continue to make a case for why it is important to protect mothers and babies from them. They continuously post stories of the poor and alone feeling cornered into an adoption decision. I have hope that at some point society will confront the fact that the stories these organizations disseminate don’t corroborate the narrative they have created.
These are not abusive mothers. These are not abortion-minded women. The words of these mothers time and again would prove that they aren’t deadbeats. But if not deadbeats, then what? Perhaps, “Brave” and “Selfless” should be replaced with more appropriate terms, “Poor” and “Alone.”
Bravelove clearly shows us that we have failed when it comes to protecting the sacred bond of mother and child. Bravelove is an indictment of society’s failure and I hope someday it will be an embarrassing blemish on a rich history of progressive female empowerment. Adoption and Feminism hardly seem compatible. Will there ever come a day when the two finally have a long-anticipated face-off? If so, my line is drawn. My allegiance lies with Feminism.
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