Is the Adoption System Broken?

It’s not often anything in the news affects me on any level; which is sad since I think most of us are so conditioned these days to the overexposure of the worse of human nature.  And too, I don’t know if I’m just feeling melancholy – this is possible since I cracked my ankle again and am moving slow.  Either way, I came across the tragic story of the Tennessee couple who returned their adoptive son to Russia several weeks ago.  Russia is where they initially adopted him and they now say he is a psychopath.  Making matters worse, they put the young boy on a plane alone to make the journey.  People are very vocal on where they stand and believe me, most of them aren’t siding with the would-be parents.

This got me to thinking: how often does this happen?  I’m talking about adoptions in general.  How far have we come, as a society, in our efforts of improving the human condition during these painful/blessed/sad/happy events?  That’s one thing that is certain; these emotions are strong and someone is always blissfully happy because of an answered prayer and most of the time, there is a woman or young girl who hasn’t even realized how hard she will likely grieve for a very long time.

In order to contrast current adoption laws/methods, we have to take a look at the past for perspective.  Here’s what I found.

In 1939, Kingsley Davis wrote an article that was published in The American Journal of Sociology.  His words, verbatim:

The bastard, like the prostitute, thief and beggar, belongs to that motley crew of disreputable social types which society has generally resented, always endured.  He is a living symbol of social irregularity, an undeniable evidence of contramoral forces…

Years later, Curtis J. Young, Family Research Council, wrote “The Missing Piece: Adoption Counseling in Pregnancy Resource Centers”.  Here’s what he wrote in 2000:

Counselors must be trained to give women sound reasons that will counter the desire to keep their babies.  One example is to reinforce the notion that it takes a strong, mature woman to place a child for adoption.  Honestly addressing the issue of financial survival can be compelling as well.  Counselors must communicate that adoption can be a heroic, responsible choice and that the child benefits tremendously.

Interesting, yes?  Quite disturbing as well.   How can anyone honestly believe another human being can counter such an innate force and a “desire to keep their babies”.  Have we grown so narcissitic as a society?

This next bit of info, depending on how you read it, is more than a little disturbing.  Granted, it is subjective, but decide for yourself.  Written by Bill Pinson in 1964, from “Mothers Out of Wedlock”:

The woman pregnant out of wedlock suffers despair and loneliness.  A feeling of helplessness, coupled with that of severe guilt, sometimes leads to suicide.  Denial and a desire for concealment are frequent first reactions; this is dangerous because a lack of proper care may be the consequence.

These three quotes are from natural mothers and speak of their pain and sense of loss.  The first two are from the mid-1960s while the third is more current, though I couldn’t find an exact date.  It was most likely penned within the past two years, and certainly within the past five years:

  • It was inhumane and unethical to subject anyone – most especially the vulnerable minor – to this such trauma.  But to ensure she was silenced and abandoned her whole life was to ensure her dehumanization was permanent.
  • I have come across articles by nurses who arrogantly think if they just counsel the mothers right in the hospital, we’ll go away whistling and dancing happily.
  • Remember the days when we were young and people would say to us, “Don’t do something to ruin your life?”  I finally understand what ruining a life means.

Instead of putting my two cents in (well, instead of putting ALL of my two cents in), I’ll leave it up to you, the reader.  I know that many adoptions are the true blessings they’re intended to be and I know millions of babies are better for the adoptions.  Still, there’s much work to be done to address the human condition of all involved.  What do you think?  Leave a comment or send me an email.


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