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2013-11-07 6:49 AM
in reply to: annie

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by annie

Hey great thread all.  I have always understood that there are waaaay more parents who want to adopt an infant than available infants. Have I misunderstood or has this changed?  Also my sister worked for Catholic Social Services said that 3 out of 10 birth mothers can think about giving a child up for adoption but only 1 our of 10 can actually do it.  I've never been pregnant so don't know but any of you moms out there could you have given up your child even if the circumstances were dismal?  (I'd love to hear from Dad's too but you don't have quite the physical connection.)

What I've read about being a woman in China is not good.  You parents of Chinese girls are of course lucky but boy oh boy the situation for girls/women is not good in China so your little girl is lucky to grow up American.  There is a book called Message from a Chinese Mother which is a good read - horrifying and enlightening.

The more I see of parenthood the harder it seems to me.   All my respect to you all with kids!

 

These are all good questions. 

I think there are a lot more CHILDREN out there to be adopted but infants may be a different story.

I am out of the loop so to speak at this point since my children are 5 & 7. The trend while we were in the process had moved towards the families/birth mothers keeping the babies and I know in our direct community (which is a very small rural town) of more than one pregnant teen who has chosen to keep the baby.  I don't know any actual statistics at this point. The second time we were called for placement the birth mother was a college student who had never told any of her family she was pregnant. Really it breaks my heart to think of how lost she must have felt but she went through the process of meeting with CSS, picking us out, we went to the hospital and met with her. Then over that night she called her Mom and realized she would have support from her family. We live in IL and here a birth mother has 72 hours after signing the paper work to change her mind. It is different in different states.

I am not going to go into second guessing whether or not I could or would ever give up a baby for adoption. It has never happened to me so it is irrelevant at this point. I know without a doubt it is the most difficult  decision my kids Birth Mother's ever had to make. They have my complete respect and admiration for their selflessness and thinking of the baby above and beyond themselves.

 

 



2013-11-07 8:37 AM
in reply to: moondawg14

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by moondawg14

Originally posted by switch

3. There were so many girls who were in orphanages JUST BECAUSE they were girls. This broke our hearts!  We're very sure that there's a couple in China somewhere who desperately misses this little girl: 

THIS!

What a beautiful, lucky little girl, and she has obviously picked her parents well. Truly good "work," Ryan.

Nice new avi too :)

I'm going to tread VERY lightly here, because I am definitely NOT calling Elesa out on this.   But I want to address the bolded part for a second.

We hear this sentiment a lot.  "What a lucky girl!"  It's real easy to see it that way. There are probably reasons to consider her "lucky."   But many, many times, adoptees don't feel "lucky."  It's hard to feel "lucky" when you have some really serious, deep, and unanswered questions about why your birth parents abandoned you.

I wasn't going to respond directly, but I saw something today that really hit home and I knew I needed to speak up for Stella:

"A Child born to another woman calls me 'Mommy.'  The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." 

While I'm the wrong gender to fully appreciate that statement... I get the gist of it.   Every adoption starts with some sort of tragedy.   It's easy for those of us who are not adopted to forget that.

Thanks for listening.  I've loved this thread so far, and I hope people continue to contribute.  

Thanks for this Ryan.  You're absolutely right, I hadn't really thought about it that way, and there certainly is that element. 

I'm sure this isn't always the case, and my understanding of how things are in China (with girls) makes me think this isn't the case often there, but I often think of women who give up children for adoption as having a kind of strength and selflessness I don't possess.   Many times when I was pregnant, and certainly after having my kids, I have thought about women who have been able to do that and thought, "Wow, they loved that child so much they wanted more for them than what they knew they could provide.  They wanted that child to have a "better" life. 

Somebody once told me that one of the best things you can do as a parent is to decide not to be one.  I think at least some percentage of adoptions are because birth mothers make this choice.  Certainly, that doesn't eliminate the tragic components, but in some cases I think it helps frame them differently.  At least I hope it does, especially for the kids :)

 

2013-11-07 9:47 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Elsa, I'm a bit confused by what you mean by:

" I'm sure this isn't always the case, and my understanding of how things are in China (with girls) makes me think this isn't the case often there, but I often think of women who give up children for adoption as having a kind of strength and selflessness I don't possess."   Please explain what you mean by the this not being the case in China.


Other than the Message From a Chinese Mother, I have come across very few accounts of what giving up an infant is like.  The only other one by a birth parent that I've read was by Robert Fulgum (The Everything I Ever Learned in Kindergarten author).  He wrote about giving up a daughter for adoption in one of his later books.  He said the experience was so profoundly traumatic  that he and his daughter's birth mother, his ex-wife, could never speak of it.

 

2013-11-07 10:44 AM
in reply to: annie

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by annie

Elsa, I'm a bit confused by what you mean by:

" I'm sure this isn't always the case, and my understanding of how things are in China (with girls) makes me think this isn't the case often there, but I often think of women who give up children for adoption as having a kind of strength and selflessness I don't possess."   Please explain what you mean by the this not being the case in China.


Other than the Message From a Chinese Mother, I have come across very few accounts of what giving up an infant is like.  The only other one by a birth parent that I've read was by Robert Fulgum (The Everything I Ever Learned in Kindergarten author).  He wrote about giving up a daughter for adoption in one of his later books.  He said the experience was so profoundly traumatic  that he and his daughter's birth mother, his ex-wife, could never speak of it.

 

Well, there are all kinds of people, and there are probably many different reasons people put up a child for adoption.  Unfortunately, some of those reasons are less altruistic than wanting what is best for the child.  Sometimes it is what is best for the birth parent(s), and my understanding is that in China, the reason there are so many girls available for adoption is that the culture values boys so much more, and in a country that limits the number of children you can have, people are willing to give up a girl child to try to have a boy.  That was what I was referring to with my comment.  Maybe Ryan can speak to this a bit, as I have no first hand knowledge of this whatsoever.  I am friends with a number of couples who have adopted Chinese girls, and this is what I have heard from them. 

Of course, very few things in life are that black and white, and I'm not trying to say that those decisions are that easy for the birth parents, but it is hard for me to understand a culture that repeatedly gives up children (either through adoption, or in far less pleasant ways), based solely on gender.

2013-11-07 11:40 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread
I'm a birth mom, so my opinion is solely from this perspective. My daughter is 22 years old, we are in contact but have never met in person

One of this biggest things that I continue to struggle with is the hypocrisy of society towards birth moms. On one side I am patted on the back for 'doing what was best for the child' but on the other crucified for following through with it. There is way too much shame thats bore by us. Many of us, myself included never tell others about our experience because the first comment is usualky ' how could you give up your child. '

So my main comment I guess is to agree that adoption begins with a massive loss that is felt for life. I would love to see a time where ALL sides of the adoption experience are treated kindly and with compassion.
2013-11-07 11:44 AM
in reply to: LittleCat

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread
Originally posted by LittleCat

I'm a birth mom, so my opinion is solely from this perspective. My daughter is 22 years old, we are in contact but have never met in person

One of this biggest things that I continue to struggle with is the hypocrisy of society towards birth moms. On one side I am patted on the back for 'doing what was best for the child' but on the other crucified for following through with it. There is way too much shame thats bore by us. Many of us, myself included never tell others about our experience because the first comment is usualky ' how could you give up your child. '

So my main comment I guess is to agree that adoption begins with a massive loss that is felt for life. I would love to see a time where ALL sides of the adoption experience are treated kindly and with compassion.


Bless you for giving the most selfless gift possible.


2013-11-07 1:15 PM
in reply to: pitt83

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by pitt83
Originally posted by LittleCat I'm a birth mom, so my opinion is solely from this perspective. My daughter is 22 years old, we are in contact but have never met in person One of this biggest things that I continue to struggle with is the hypocrisy of society towards birth moms. On one side I am patted on the back for 'doing what was best for the child' but on the other crucified for following through with it. There is way too much shame thats bore by us. Many of us, myself included never tell others about our experience because the first comment is usualky ' how could you give up your child. ' So my main comment I guess is to agree that adoption begins with a massive loss that is felt for life. I would love to see a time where ALL sides of the adoption experience are treated kindly and with compassion.
Bless you for giving the most selfless gift possible.

Dang it now I'm all teary eyed again.

Every time I open this thread here come the waterworks.

 

 

2013-11-07 3:20 PM
in reply to: LittleCat

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread
Dang you. That was very moving--thanks for sharing from your perspective.

On the topic of cost: we adopted 4 last year through the foster care system and the legal fees that the state subsidized were around $600 per child. We hired our own attorney (if we used the state adoption attorney we would have had to pay $0 out of pocket) and I think we had to pony up like 250 bucks.

As with other adoptive parents I'm more than happy to answer questions about it, or questions about foster care. As Lisa said, even if you aren't in a position to adopt or foster, there are so many ways you can get involved and help out those who are foster or adoptive parents so don't hesitate to ask.
2013-11-07 4:14 PM
in reply to: LittleCat

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread
Originally posted by LittleCat

I'm a birth mom, so my opinion is solely from this perspective. My daughter is 22 years old, we are in contact but have never met in person

One of this biggest things that I continue to struggle with is the hypocrisy of society towards birth moms. On one side I am patted on the back for 'doing what was best for the child' but on the other crucified for following through with it. There is way too much shame thats bore by us. Many of us, myself included never tell others about our experience because the first comment is usualky ' how could you give up your child. '

So my main comment I guess is to agree that adoption begins with a massive loss that is felt for life. I would love to see a time where ALL sides of the adoption experience are treated kindly and with compassion.


The agency we are going through really encourages semi-open adoptions. Our first experience, however, was completely closed. She chose a C-section with a curtain, and has no idea even the sex of her child. She also wants no contact from us at all. I can try to understand her decision and I am grateful beyond words, but I would have liked to have hugged her and thanked her for her choice. We do submit pictures and a brief diary twice a year to the agency if she ever wants to check up on him and see how he is doing.

We hope our second adoption experience is different. We are wanting the semi-open adoption. Meaning, supervised visits 1-3 per year, and possibly a relationship with all of us in the future. It seems to be better for all involved, especially the birth mother and the child. Hopefully, we can alleviate some of that shame and loss you felt and replace it with gratitude and love. Also, being 44 years old, it would be like gaining two children into ours lives if the birth mother is in her teens or early twenties.

Anyways, just letting you know the culture of adoption is changing for just the reasons you mentioned in your post.
2013-11-07 4:19 PM
in reply to: LittleCat

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by LittleCat I'm a birth mom, so my opinion is solely from this perspective. My daughter is 22 years old, we are in contact but have never met in person One of this biggest things that I continue to struggle with is the hypocrisy of society towards birth moms. On one side I am patted on the back for 'doing what was best for the child' but on the other crucified for following through with it. There is way too much shame thats bore by us. Many of us, myself included never tell others about our experience because the first comment is usualky ' how could you give up your child. ' So my main comment I guess is to agree that adoption begins with a massive loss that is felt for life. I would love to see a time where ALL sides of the adoption experience are treated kindly and with compassion.

Thanks for sharing your experience Suzanne.

2013-11-07 7:43 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by switch

Originally posted by annie

Elsa, I'm a bit confused by what you mean by:

" I'm sure this isn't always the case, and my understanding of how things are in China (with girls) makes me think this isn't the case often there, but I often think of women who give up children for adoption as having a kind of strength and selflessness I don't possess."   Please explain what you mean by the this not being the case in China.


Other than the Message From a Chinese Mother, I have come across very few accounts of what giving up an infant is like.  The only other one by a birth parent that I've read was by Robert Fulgum (The Everything I Ever Learned in Kindergarten author).  He wrote about giving up a daughter for adoption in one of his later books.  He said the experience was so profoundly traumatic  that he and his daughter's birth mother, his ex-wife, could never speak of it.

 

Well, there are all kinds of people, and there are probably many different reasons people put up a child for adoption.  Unfortunately, some of those reasons are less altruistic than wanting what is best for the child.  Sometimes it is what is best for the birth parent(s), and my understanding is that in China, the reason there are so many girls available for adoption is that the culture values boys so much more, and in a country that limits the number of children you can have, people are willing to give up a girl child to try to have a boy.  That was what I was referring to with my comment.  Maybe Ryan can speak to this a bit, as I have no first hand knowledge of this whatsoever.  I am friends with a number of couples who have adopted Chinese girls, and this is what I have heard from them. 

Of course, very few things in life are that black and white, and I'm not trying to say that those decisions are that easy for the birth parents, but it is hard for me to understand a culture that repeatedly gives up children (either through adoption, or in far less pleasant ways), based solely on gender.

There's a great book called "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son" that also talks about adoption in China.(along with a PILE of other books)  Basically, there are many girls in Chinese orphanages that are actually second daughters.   The one-child policy allows couples from the countryside to apply to have a second child if their first child is a girl.  The goal here is to have a son.   The Confucuian concept of filial piety is still extremely strong here in China.   When a couple gets older, there is basically no social safety net, especially in poorer areas.  The couple is COUNTING on their son to take care of them in their old age.   A daughter is generally unable to do this, because she is expected to get married and will then go to live with her husband's family.

Because the one-child policy is enforced with very little uniformity from place-to-place, the reasons for abandonment vary greatly.  Some people will abandon a first daughter because they know they will not be granted a second-child permit from their local government, either because their government are a-holes, or because they won't be able to pay the fee(bribe)   

The one-child policy also drives really, really high rates for abandonment of special-needs children.  People have only "one chance" to get a healthy child, and so will abandon a child with almost any imperfection.   We're talking anything from missing fingers/toes, etc, all the way down to a big birthmark.  Yes, children in China can be abandoned because they have a big birthmark, especially if it's somewhere visible, like the face.   There are still many superstitions , people perceive these children to be "cursed" or whatever.  

I've read a gut-wrenching story about a young mother who had a baby with a small deformity... I believe it was club foot.  Her inlaws blamed HER for giving birth to an imperfect child.  The MIL basically told her to go abandon the baby.  When she wouldn't, she was kicked out of the house, and her MIL forced her son to divorce.   She lived on the streets for a few months and eventually could no longer care for the baby.    So she abandoned him in a park and watched until someone found him and took him. 

Yeah, it's a real complicated issue.  I can't expect anyone to understand the cultural differences.  I've lived here over a year-and-a-half, and I still don't understand it all.   All I can say is that people shouldn't be too quick to judge.   The pressures and issues here are completely foreign to someone who has grown up in a different place.  

 



2013-11-07 8:02 PM
in reply to: moondawg14

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by moondawg14

Originally posted by switch

Originally posted by annie

Elsa, I'm a bit confused by what you mean by:

" I'm sure this isn't always the case, and my understanding of how things are in China (with girls) makes me think this isn't the case often there, but I often think of women who give up children for adoption as having a kind of strength and selflessness I don't possess."   Please explain what you mean by the this not being the case in China.


Other than the Message From a Chinese Mother, I have come across very few accounts of what giving up an infant is like.  The only other one by a birth parent that I've read was by Robert Fulgum (The Everything I Ever Learned in Kindergarten author).  He wrote about giving up a daughter for adoption in one of his later books.  He said the experience was so profoundly traumatic  that he and his daughter's birth mother, his ex-wife, could never speak of it.

 

Well, there are all kinds of people, and there are probably many different reasons people put up a child for adoption.  Unfortunately, some of those reasons are less altruistic than wanting what is best for the child.  Sometimes it is what is best for the birth parent(s), and my understanding is that in China, the reason there are so many girls available for adoption is that the culture values boys so much more, and in a country that limits the number of children you can have, people are willing to give up a girl child to try to have a boy.  That was what I was referring to with my comment.  Maybe Ryan can speak to this a bit, as I have no first hand knowledge of this whatsoever.  I am friends with a number of couples who have adopted Chinese girls, and this is what I have heard from them. 

Of course, very few things in life are that black and white, and I'm not trying to say that those decisions are that easy for the birth parents, but it is hard for me to understand a culture that repeatedly gives up children (either through adoption, or in far less pleasant ways), based solely on gender.

There's a great book called "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son" that also talks about adoption in China.(along with a PILE of other books)  Basically, there are many girls in Chinese orphanages that are actually second daughters.   The one-child policy allows couples from the countryside to apply to have a second child if their first child is a girl.  The goal here is to have a son.   The Confucuian concept of filial piety is still extremely strong here in China.   When a couple gets older, there is basically no social safety net, especially in poorer areas.  The couple is COUNTING on their son to take care of them in their old age.   A daughter is generally unable to do this, because she is expected to get married and will then go to live with her husband's family.

Because the one-child policy is enforced with very little uniformity from place-to-place, the reasons for abandonment vary greatly.  Some people will abandon a first daughter because they know they will not be granted a second-child permit from their local government, either because their government are a-holes, or because they won't be able to pay the fee(bribe)   

The one-child policy also drives really, really high rates for abandonment of special-needs children.  People have only "one chance" to get a healthy child, and so will abandon a child with almost any imperfection.   We're talking anything from missing fingers/toes, etc, all the way down to a big birthmark.  Yes, children in China can be abandoned because they have a big birthmark, especially if it's somewhere visible, like the face.   There are still many superstitions , people perceive these children to be "cursed" or whatever.  

I've read a gut-wrenching story about a young mother who had a baby with a small deformity... I believe it was club foot.  Her inlaws blamed HER for giving birth to an imperfect child.  The MIL basically told her to go abandon the baby.  When she wouldn't, she was kicked out of the house, and her MIL forced her son to divorce.   She lived on the streets for a few months and eventually could no longer care for the baby.    So she abandoned him in a park and watched until someone found him and took him. 

Yeah, it's a real complicated issue.  I can't expect anyone to understand the cultural differences.  I've lived here over a year-and-a-half, and I still don't understand it all.   All I can say is that people shouldn't be too quick to judge.   The pressures and issues here are completely foreign to someone who has grown up in a different place.  

 

Thanks for this Ryan.  I know it's complicated, and it certainly is completely foreign to me.  There are a lot of things in other cultures I don't understand. It is hard for me sometimes, albeit as an outsider, to distinguish between things that are cultural differences and human rights issues.  I should probably do more reading :)

2013-11-07 8:30 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by switch

Thanks for this Ryan.  I know it's complicated, and it certainly is completely foreign to me.  There are a lot of things in other cultures I don't understand. It is hard for me sometimes, albeit as an outsider, to distinguish between things that are cultural differences and human rights issues.  I should probably do more reading

In my experience, "Human Rights Issues" are what governments deal with.    "Cultural differences" are what individuals deal with.   And there's a lot of "cross talk" in how one affects the other.

In this case, for instance.  The "cultural difference" is that many, many Chinese people feel that children with birth defects are a "curse" on their family and they bring an unbearable amount of shame to the family (in a culture where "shame" is one of the MOST POWERFUL social forces.   The "Human Rights Issue" is the government passing a one-child policy that amplifies the problem.

Come for a visit!  I'm sure I could hook you up with a week caring for Chinese orphans

 

 

2013-11-07 8:37 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Thanks all for the explanation all.  This is what I have understood too except the part about children with deformations being abandoned; I hadn't heard that although it makes sense in a way.  I've heard that urban areas do not have the large prejudice against girls but in the rural areas it is very strong and this is NOT a good place to be female.  

2013-11-07 8:43 PM
in reply to: annie

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Subject: RE: Adoption Thread

Originally posted by annie

Thanks all for the explanation all.  This is what I have understood too except the part about children with deformations being abandoned; I hadn't heard that although it makes sense in a way.  I've heard that urban areas do not have the large prejudice against girls but in the rural areas it is very strong and this is NOT a good place to be female.  

Slowly, being female in China is getting better.  

The cities do not have as much of a problem, because the social welfare system is much more generous to people from cities.  Many o the girls from the countryside, if they're not married by the time they're  23 or so, will move to the southern cities and work in a factory.   Or a KTV if they're pretty, or a massage place.

"Factory Girls" by Leslie T Chang is an EXCELLENT book on the subject.

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