If you had asked me in 2004 what I had planned for myself, I would have not said “writing” about adoption and human trafficking or blogging. I had just left my editor’s job at the Pequot Times in Connecticut in August and by September I was married, my second time. How life changed so dramatically for me is documented in my memoir in much greater detail.
It doesn’t seem possible 10 years zoomed by so fast – it’s like a time tornado hit. Time sped up to warp speed and still has me in its grip!
I know many bloggers on adoption (many good friends to me) had hoped we’d made a strong and lasting impact by now. I had that dream myself. I am not sure we can actually gauge or measure how world views of adoption have changed. (If books on Amazon are an indication, adoptee memoirs are now climbing the ranks over all the propaganda books about how to adopt a baby.) If the statistics on adoption are any indication, the number of babies adopted by Americans are dropping each and every year. There is definitely a demand for infants (primarily because of infertility) but there is still a short supply of newborn flesh to adopt. (I do believe the adoption traffickers are constantly reinventing new ways to grab a fresh supply of infants. Think of what new poor countries or communities they will invade as the demand increases!! Read THIS)
What hasn’t changed fast enough for me are adoption laws, sealed adoption files or the old views of promised secrecy and confidentiality for first mothers. If you gave birth, wouldn’t you want to know what happened to your own baby? If you are an adoptee, don’t you want to know what happened to your mother (and father)? Haven’t we moved past shaming women for unwed pregnancies? Yes, but not enough, apparently. Lawmakers are still being wined and dined by adoption agency lobbyists so I don’t expect to see much change in the laws – but I hope I am wrong.
What I’d hoped would change faster is the perception of adoption, that it’s not as great for adoptees as people were made to think and believe. As much as I’ve read in these past 10 years, blogs and books changed me beyond recognition! Many times I emailed legislators (like in New Jersey and Illinois) and offered my memoir (as a free ebook) hoping they would see the light and change existing adoption laws. Maybe it helped?
Open Adoption - when adoption is necessary – is also an indication that times are changing! But we have a long way to go…This is a quote I saved about open adoption:
…ignored by the adoption agencies is the reality of “open adoption.” Only 22 of fifty states in America recognize open adoption agreements, but failure of the adoptive parents to comply with the agreement is not legally enforceable by the surrendering mother.There are many excellent writers making profound statements too.
A quote by adoptee-author-blogger Elle Cuardaigh: And adoption certainly is “worked.” When supply of newborns decreased in the 1970s, the adoption industry had to put a new spin on relinquishment to stay in business. Since women could not be so easily shamed by single motherhood, they changed tactics. Potential suppliers (pregnant women) are now encouraged to “make an adoption plan.” She reads the “Dear Birthmother” letters and interviews hopeful adoptive parents. She is provided with medical care and possibly even housing. She is promised this is her choice, and that she can have ongoing contact with her child in an open adoption. It would seem she has all the power, but she is being systematically conditioned to accept her role, her place. She doesn’t want to hurt the baby’s “real parents,” feels indebted to them, emotionally invested. She is soon convinced they are better than she is. She becomes “their birthmother.” It almost guarantees relinquishment.
READ Elle’s blog and new book THE TANGLED RED THREAD. Or visit: http://ellecuardaigh.com
READ LAURA DENNIS and the guest post: Welcome to the Adoptionland Carnival, Next Stop: The End.
Read any and all posts at THE LIFE OF VON. (We lost Von in 2020)
Such powerful WRITING!
If you want insight into The St. John’s/Montclair University Adoption Initiative conference from attendee Jae Ran Kim, an adoptee/social worker who I admire greatly, read this. “Adoptive parent scholars and scholars without any connection to adoption sometimes just miss asking certain questions that adoptee scholars ask,” she wrote on her blog Harlow’s Monkey. (Check out the books too while you are at Harlow’s Monkey!)
The number of excellent powerful blogs and books by adoptees and first parents (and some APs) has exploded in the past 10 years and for that I am so very grateful! Writing three books about the Indian Adoption Projects and Programs and that history (and exploring my own journey) and contributing to new books like ADOPTIONLAND certainly changed me.
I am happily shocked my blog AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES reached over 240,000 hits (in 2014)! If that is any indication, the times really are a changin’. That blog came about when my memoir One Small Sacrifice was about to be published in 2009 and experts claim if you have a book, you have to have a blog. Well it worked!
I never would have guessed my life would move in the direction it did but I see that there was much more I needed to write about my life and experience. I let Great Spirit use me and this was the path.
I want to thank those brave bloggers and hundreds of adoptees who have inspired me so much over past 10 years. Keep it coming!
There is a FACEBOOK PAGE by Carol Schaefer that lists many books about adoption: https://www.facebook.com/adoptionbookslist
So what will the next 10 years be like? I don’t have a clue.